Seven basic yoga balance board positions

Ever heard of yoga balance board? It is a trendy activity that comes from combining yoga practice with a balance board and will amaze you once you try it.

How to practise yoga balance board?

Whether or not you already practise yoga, to get started, you need a balance board, which you can find here, and learn how to keep yourself balanced by activating all the muscles in your body.

If you have never tried it and don't know how to do it, you can learn on your own thanks to the information in the article on how to get started with a balance board. Once you have achieved good stability, which is usually achieved very quickly, you can start experimenting with the positions you already know.

As in the practice of yoga, the advice is to use comfortable clothing and to stand on the balance board barefoot to get a perfect grip on the board.

One last fundamental parenthesis on yoga balance board practice: breathe! Yes that's right, it seems obvious, but it really isn't. In fact, people often forget to breathe properly and perform exercises in total apnoea. This remainder applies to both beginners and professional athletes.

With correct breathing, practice becomes smoother, more conscious and less tiring, and for athletes, performance levels improve. So, be sure to breathe.

Why practise yoga balance board?

Yoga balance board allows you to involve the muscles you already use during simple yoga practice on the mat more intensively and take your body awareness to a higher level.

Any activity performed while balancing on an unstable surface, in fact, requires not only greater involvement of the superficial musculature, but also, and above all, micro-movements that call on the deeper muscles and stimulate the myofascial tissues.

With a stronger and more stable musculature also at a deeper level, benefits can also be achieved at the joint level so as to prevent or reduce the risk of injury when practising other sporting activities.

Constant balance on the balance board also improves the stability of the core muscles, stimulates blood circulation and helps to maintain a more correct posture, both during training and in everyday life.

In addition to the more technical aspect, there is no denying the feeling of fun and freedom one gets when practising balance board yoga. The undulating movement of the board, in fact, recalls those childhood memories in which one took everything with joy, lightness and without too much thought.

Seven basic yoga balance board positions

If you have never practised yoga before, my advice is to first try the postures on your mat and then experiment with them on the balance board, so that you at least have an idea of the muscles involved, the breathing and the correct execution of the gesture on a stable surface.

On an unstable surface (the balance board's roller underneath the balance board) the level of difficulty increases and the effort to maintain perfect alignment and perform the exercises correctly is more intense. As a result, the movements become more dynamic and the practice level rises.

Now you can move on to practising on your balance board and try out the easier positions, but not the ones in which you work the least. You will experience for yourself how much your muscles are stimulated at a deep level and, not only that, you will discover muscles you never thought you had.

First, remember to breathe. OK, you can start.

1. Downward Facing Dog

1. Downard Facing Dog - Yoga balance board

In quadrupedes place your hands with fingers well apart on the balance board, distribute your weight evenly between your hands and feet and bring your buttocks upwards to enter the Downward Facing Dog. In this position, try to keep the board parallel to the ground, your shoulders away from your ears and your shoulder blades together, so that the back muscles are well activated.

Tip: If you suffer from spinal diseases, sciatic nerve inflammation or back pain of which you are not aware, keep your knees bent and your heels off the ground.

2. Plank Pose

2. Plank Pose - Yoga balance board

From the Head Down Dog pose, bring your navel towards your spine to activate your core, round your back and shift your weight forward towards your arms so that your body is on axis. Tighten your glutes, keep your core strong, breathe, keep your shoulders away from your ears, your shoulder blades together and your gaze slightly ahead of your hands.

Don't forget your heels pointing backwards and towards the floor; this small adjustment allows you to correctly activate your leg muscles and keep the position more stable.

You will experience the plank like never before, you will feel the muscles in your arms, legs and abdomen working at a deep level and, believe me, your glutes will thank you.

Variation: if your arms are struggling to hold the position, rest your knees on the floor, I assure you that you will still feel a lot of muscle work. It's best to strengthen your arms and core well first, so that your back doesn't arch at the lumbar level.

3. Four-Limbed Staff Pose

3. Four-Limbed Staff Pose - Yoga balance board

From the Plank position, how can we pass up the opportunity for a nice transition into Chaturanga? Then bend your arms and keep your shoulder blades tightly together, glutes and abdomen super active, eyes in the middle. Try to form a 90° angle between arm and forearm and keep your body parallel to the ground.

I know, this is an intense position, so, as with the Plank, keep your knees on the ground if you need to, at least until you have sufficient strength in your arms and core.

4. Upward Facing Dog

4. Upward Facing Dog - Yoga balance board

From Chaturanga, rest your knees on the floor, bring your glutes towards your heels, extend your arms and, while rounding your back, return your weight forward until you uncoil your spine and extend your legs to find yourself in the Upward Facing Dog position. Balance your weight well during the flow to keep the board parallel to the ground at all times and arch your back. For more core, gluteal and leg activation, counter the back of your foot to the floor and lift your knees off the ground.

Always keep your shoulder blades together, look forward and, if you can, avoid dropping your neck back without your muscles being active.

5. Crescent Moon Pose

5. Crescent Moon Pose - Yoga balance board

Stand on the board with your front foot perpendicular to the roller and your back leg with your knee and back of foot on the ground. Once you have found stability on your board place your hands against your knee and try to keep the board parallel to the ground.

When you feel stable, detach your hands from your knee and bring them upwards while arching your back.

Tip: interlocking your hands and bringing your index fingers upwards can help you achieve greater stability.

6. Garland Pose

6. Garland Pose - Yoga balance board

The Malāsana pose is nothing more than a very low squat. To begin with you can lean on a chair to help you gradually descend downwards. When you have gained confidence, fix a point in front of you and test your balance as you descend with the board parallel to the ground.

Once you have reached maximum squat, try to slowly climb back up.

Tip: For better stability, try bringing your arms outwards or your palms together and facing each other in front of your chest.

7. Half Bridge

7. Half Bridge - Yoga balance board

A final, very simple position is the Half Bridge. With your back to the floor and knees bent, place your feet parallel to each other on the outer edges of the balance board. Keep your arms along your sides and press down on the floor with your hands as you lift your buttocks and bring them upwards; hold for a few moments and return slowly, vertebra after vertebra, with your back on the floor.

In this position, it is essential to support your arms on the floor and, when returning with your back to the floor, to support first the vertebrae higher up and then the sacrum

Tip: A more difficult variation is to tighten and bring the legs together. Also try to do 5-second holds before descending. Strive to keep the board horizontal at all times.

Which yoga balance board to use?

The board that is best suited for yoga balance board practice is Balance Board Pro "The Starter". With its flat shape, it is perfect for optimal stability; the resin-coated fibreglass cover also provides a perfect grip for the hands and, above all, for the bare feet, which, in contact with the surface, promote the right head-body-board connection.

The 10x45cm cork roller, finally, allows the board to glide smoothly for uninterrupted flow.

If you wish, you can also place your own mat under the balance board, but beware, if this has too much grip, you risk limiting the glide of the board, which must be fluid to allow you to get the maximum potential from your practice.

If you do not have a balance board, get one and start your yoga balance board practice now.

Guest post a cura di Michela Alberti 

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