Balance is a Verb

Read Time: 2 min

I’m in the middle of teaching a group class with a focus on balance.

In the first class I do a little exercise with them.

You can do it, too. Right now.

Stand up with your feet hip width apart. Close your eyes. (You can open them at any time if you’re uncomfortable).

Keep your eyes closed and notice that you’re not completely 100% still. Notice that there’s a gentle sway in you.

Open your eyes.

Do you seem to sway less when your eyes are open?

That sway you feel is completely normal. You’re experiencing your balance.

Balance is not a fixed position.

It’s something that’s constantly adjusting a bit. You’re constantly finding balance, losing it just a bit and then adjusting and finding it again.

In other words, you’re constantly balancING. That ING part is important.

Think of balance as a verb, not a noun.

If you noticed less sway when you opened your eyes, it’s because you rely on information you get through your eyes to help you balance.

When you take that information away—by closing your eyes—your balance system is challenged a bit. And balancing becomes a bit more difficult.

If you’ve ever been in a dimly lit or dark house and go down the stairs, what do you instinctively do? Probably reach out for the handrail.

That’s because you’re not getting much information through your eyes, so you reach out to touch something to help know where you are—and help you balance.

Try the exercise again.

Stand up with your feet hip width apart. Close your eyes. (You can open them at any time if you’re uncomfortable).

Keep your eyes closed and notice that you’re not completely 100% still. Notice that there’s a gentle sway in you.

Open your eyes.

Invite that little sway to always be there in you as you stand. As opposed to locking into a position to stand. If you lock your legs or your hips to stand, you’re just creating excess compression and tension.

Not great for your body or your balance.

You don’t have to create the sway or do the sway.

Just allow it to be there. Get comfortable with it. 

And realize that you’re always balancING. Even when you’re standing on two feet!

Photo: Shutterstock/Nattapoom V

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