Here we are at the final balancing posture of our balancing series. Balancing Stick pose is a one legged balance held for 10 seconds only. Because the posture itself is held for such a short amount of time, it is important to give your “all” from the start – and hold on until you hear the “change” command from your teacher. This posture is meant to be a cardiovascular challenge, as the body is positioned to stretch all four chambers of the heart. All 4 limbs pull away from center, as the body maintains its intrinsic core strength to get all benefits from this power-packed posture.
Stand with your feet together. Breathe your arms over head and interlace all ten fingers, crossing your thumbs and releasing your index fingers. Stretch up to the ceiling, making your body as tall as possible. Draw your abdomen in and engage your core muscles.
Step forward with your right foot, shifting your body weight in your step. Charge your body forward, simultaneously lifting your back leg (in this case, your left leg) up behind you. Your body eventually makes a capital “T” shape.
Continue to squeeze your arms into your ears, palms pressed firmly, and stretch your arms forward. At the same time, point your back foot, firming the leg muscles, and reaching your back, lifted leg, behind you. Pretend you are the rope in a “human tug-of-war.”
Stretching forward and back, maintain your core muscles to engage and balance around your center. Strive to keep both hips in one line from the side, so that one hip does not lift higher than the other. This will guarantee a beautiful hamstring stretch on the standing leg. Keep your standing leg straight and hold this energy for 10 full seconds.
Step back, bring your body upright, and begin the other side.
As mentioned above, this pose is meant to be a cardiovascular challenge. It’s intense, but lasts only 10 seconds on each side. The standing leg continues to build strength as it balances the weight of a moving body. Your arms reaching forward from center and your free leg kicking back from center, both help to move energy from the waistline. Make sure you keep drawing your core energy in…don’t let your belly hang! This action will help to keep the hips parallel to the floor in the full expression of this posture, guaranteeing a hamstring/hip stretch for the standing, balancing leg. Be sure to focus your gaze in this posture to help keep your balance for the full 10 seconds!