Improving Yoga Balance with Balance Boards


The discipline of yoga allows you to work on your strength, flexibility, suppleness, and coordination. With a 5,000-year history in ancient Indian philosophy, it is an excellent way of connecting with your body and improving your mental well-being. The majority may assume that yoga is but meditation and breathing alone. It is not. It has evolved in different ways depending on the desired outcome, but still focusing on exercise, strength, flexibility, and breathing.
One way of ramping up the intended results from the conventional yoga practices is to change the surface where you do the methods. The use of balance boards has become popular. Its addition to the normal yoga routine has shown improvements in balance and burning of calories. But, what are balance boards and how do they improve yoga balance?

What are Balance Boards?

Balance boards are what their name suggests them to be – a board that you balance on. It has an even and solid surface with a soft or rounded bottom and is usually made of plastic or wood. There are different kinds and various sizes to choose from according to your preference. Doing yoga or working out with a balance board can have deeper benefits.

This device aids in developing:
● Balance
● Coordination
● Motor skills
● Reaction time
● Strength and steadiness
● Injury prevention
● Core strength

These boards are not only used for exercising and yoga but in physical therapy and rehabilitation as well.
When balancing on the board, you may look like a surfer on dry land. The trick, just like in surfboards is to stand on the board while arms are extended so you can stay centered.

Balance Training for Yoga

Balance and stability are two different things. The first one is having the ability to control your body sans the movement against gravity. The latter is having the ability to control your body throughout the movement.

Both, however, helps in rehabilitating, improving one’s posture, reducing the risk of injury, enhancing coordination, and increasing functional strength. Not to mention, they are fun to do.
There are different pieces of balance training for yoga. One of which is the paddleboard yoga. For some time, it established itself as the hottest workout around. However, aside from paddling board yoga in the throes of winter not catching on, another downside was the high likelihood of face planting into the water.
Balance board training conquers both these dilemmas by offering an unstable surface to achieve conventional yoga moves right in the comfort of your homes.

Balance Board Exercises

As simple as trying to stand still on a balance board does a lot in improving yoga balance, stability,
coordination, and spatial awareness. For beginners, balance exercises are exceptional supplements to a
core-strengthening program, since you will have your deep abdominal muscles working to keep you upright.
Here are a few balance board exercises that will help you improve yoga balance with balance boards:

Exercise 1. Simple and Plain Starting Position
This exercise tests the visual and proprioceptive system or your spatial awareness. To do this:

  1. Stand with feet hip-distance apart, both pointing straight ahead. Be in a stationary position and keep a proper posture.
  2. Once you have balanced and can stand still, turn your head side to side and move your eyes to look in four different directions – up, down, left, and right.

Exercise 2. Mini Squat
Squatting on solid ground can be challenging. Squatting on a balance board is even more challenging,
but can really foster lower-body and core strength. To do this:

  1. Keep your feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart and try to squat without losing your balance.
  2. Slowly and gradually bend at your knees and drop into your hips. Stay in the position for a few seconds and then slowly rise.
    Exercise 3. Playing Catch
    To do this:
  3. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and pointing forward.
  4. Toss a ball with either one or both hands to and from a partner.
  5. If you don’t have a partner, you can either toss the ball up in the air from one hand to the other or bounce it off a wall back and forth to yourself.

Exercise 4. Side-to-side-tap
To do this slightly more advance balance board exercise:

  1. Stand on your feet on top of the board with barefoot.
  2. Slowly and bit by bit lean back and forth, left and right while keeping your balance so that the side of the board touches the ground.
  3. Do this routine for 60 seconds.

Exercise 5. Kneeling Spin
To do this:

  1. Kneel on the board with your hands placed on your hips.
  2. Slowly rotate your body while focusing on your abdominal muscles.
  3. After finishing a few rotations, decelerate and then make a reverse motion of rotating in the
    opposite direction.

If these exercises feel too easy for you, try doing them with your eyes closed. Make sure that you have truly mastered balancing before shutting down those eyes, otherwise have a spotter ready to catch you anytime.

Benefits of Yoga on Balance Board

A smart move for balance and coordination training, yoga if combined with balance board training creates a perfectly programmed balanced workout. While it may be harder to perform yoga on a balance board than a yoga mat, until you’ve experienced it yourself, the unique challenge brings you so many benefits.

It offers a more stimulating workout
Movements in yoga are difficult enough, doing them on an unstable stand makes it infinitely more difficult. Your muscles will have to constantly work to keep your body balanced while the board moves from side to side. It uses your core a lot more just to keep your torso straight.

It helps develop mindfulness
To “be in the moment” is important to any successful workout. It doesn’t matter if you are lifting weights, doing pilates or yoga. The mind wanders a lot therefore, it is a tremendous challenge for anyone who works out.
With a balance board, if you don’t focus and if you allow your mind to wander off, an immediate impact as hard as your body crashing to the floor will be your consequence. Doing yoga on a balance board improves the mind and body connection.

It helps you to be stronger The integral to a sound yoga practice is strength development. Time and again, yoga depends on many of the smaller muscles that are ignored during a traditional resistance-based strength development routine. Balance board training works on those muscles. These small, often-neglected stabilizer muscles will work in concert with your major muscles (chest, back, thighs) and will just give you success on the lift if movements are executed correctly.

Keeping a pose is harder
A lot of yoga postures test your body’s knack to function as a whole by keeping and holding the same post for an extended period. Doing it on a balance board is about 10 times more difficult since you have to persistently make micro regulations to accommodate the imbalance of the board. As you do, it gives your body much more benefits in lesser training time.

Balance boards and yoga build on the huge popularity of paddleboard yoga training. It offers the same benefits of paddleboard yoga minus the trouble of getting yourself out in the water. Using a balance board in yoga takes it to a new level of challenge and effectiveness. There are also known benefits of using a balance board for surfing.
Yoga balance with balance boards is not ideal for people who are just starting out with yoga – even a veteran yogi will find extra challenges in balance board training both mentally and physically.

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