Here we are at the balancing series! After an intensely focused warm-up series, we arrive at our one-legged balancing series. This is where the mind and body really come together in an effort to strengthen the spirit. Once the body is properly warmed, the challenges of class become a way that we strengthen our spirit, our determination, and our willpower. A true yoga practice nourishes far beyond the physical feats.
Stand with your feet touching side by side. Shift your body weight to your left leg and lift your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor and your heel is directly under your knee, forming a perfect 90-degree angle. Slowly curly your body forward to grab a hold of your lifted foot, all ten fingers interlocked tightly to the webbing. Be sure to keep your belly muscles engaged, supporting the deep stretch of your spine. If your lower back hurts at all, stand upright and interlace your fingers around your knee. With either method, be sure to keep your belly muscles hugging the spine.
Your standing leg should be absolutely straight, with the kneecap supported and lifted by its surrounding muscles. From the side, your hip is over your knee is over your heel. Be careful to hold the knee (with muscle) in the center of your standing leg. With too much muscle, it will bend forward. With too little muscle support, it will jam back into hyperextension.
The challenge of this posture is to find that balance point, on one leg. Hold for 60 seconds, and then slowly release the grip, placing both feet on the ground. Stand tall and breathe deeply before beginning the second side.
Standing head-to-knee pose is really one of the quintessential postures of our hot yoga sequence. It marks the beginning of one of our more challenging series. The balancing series, in general, calls upon our physical strength as we seek to steady ourselves on one leg (1/2 the support we are used to having). In this struggle,we are often triggered on a mental and emotional level. Our patience, endurance, stamina, willpower, and determination are all recruited in order to sustain the 60-second balance. A yoga pose, done in perfect form, will always challenge the body and the mind, thus giving rise to the spirit of the practitioner.