Updated: May 19, 2020
If you’ve attended a DYNAMIC BALANCE session you will have probably found it a challenge – hopefully an enjoyable one!
Arms shaking, sweating profusely, you’re feeling anything but relaxed the practice is designed to take you to an edge. It’s exactly at the point when you feel that you want to stop, that the real practice begins identifying the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) as the way the body copes with a pressing danger by allowing more blood to flow into the trunk, arms and legs. Great if you are running away from a tiger, but not so helpful as you meet the challenges of everyday life.
By self experimentation the yogis of old found methods of stilling the mind and overriding the body’s reactions to stress, primarily through breathing exercises. Science caught up with this many years later identifying the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) as the way the body copes with a pressing danger by allowing more blood to flow into the trunk, arms and legs.
In contrast the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) allows recovery after a stressful event. Is it possible to rewire ourselves to be able use these two seemingly opposing systems at the same time and achieve a balance between the two?
In Dynamic Balance you deliberately subject your body to stress to enable you to observe your reactions. Even if you strenuously attempt to hide how you feel, it is only by focusing on the intensity that you are able to resolve it. Instead of fighting against the posture, you learn to dig deeper into discomfort and resolve it with a strong focus and controlled breath, knowing that this temporary discomfort will resolve itself and you will be stronger, both physically and mentally because of it.
Of course, this doesn’t happen in the first session. It is only by continuous practice that you will begin to find a point of stillness within the challenge. In turn you will find that your attitudes and the way you go about your everyday life will change for the better, your body becomes strong and adaptable, stressful events become more manageable and enjoyable situations more intense. Above all, you learn to develop a fierce enthusiasm for life!
THE BENEFITS OF DYNAMIC BALANCE
WORKING FROM THE CENTRE
If you study any athletic sporting great such as Usain Bolt, Zinedine Zidane or Jessica Ennis, you’ll notice that although they are from different disciplines, they all have certain aspects in common — great balance and economy of movement that emanates from a strong, calm and focused centre (Dynamic Core).
Great sports people are probably unaware of having these assets from an early age but they were perfect foundations on which to build phenomenal skills. Dynamic Balance Yoga can retrain and adapt the body so that these elements, that exist in some degree in all of us, can be developed to create a more functional and resilient physique and state of mind from which to operate at full potential.
The mid torso is the area of the body around which everything circulates. This is the central point which creates stability. It has to be strong but flexible so that the peripheries of the body can align and balance around it. The postures and sequences in Dynamic Balance yoga develop this crucial area.
When muscles and connective tissue are lengthened it creates more room for blood to flow in. More blood brings more oxygen, which muscles need to grow and heal. Increased circulation also helps remove lactic acid which can have a corrosive effect on an athlete’s body.
Athletes of all disciplines have very repetitive movements usually in one direction and in one plane of motion. This means that sportspeople develop certain muscle groups while ignoring others. Athletes train and perform in these set patterns day after day, which eventually lead to imbalances in the muscles and joints leading to overuse injuries. A classic example is footballers developing tight hamstrings and hip flexors which cause the body to recruit from other joints, joints not intended for bearing extra loads such as the knees and ankles.
The most common overuse injuries among athletes include those involving the iliotibial band (ITB), knee, hamstrings, hip flexors and shoulders. Often, these injuries are directly linked to lack of flexibility, poor core strength and misalignment. Dynamic Balance Yoga helps alleviate this tightness, builds a strong centre, and aligns the spine.
Even if athletes stretch before or after a game, they are usually just stretching the muscles in the same direction and plane of motion that replicate movement patterns in their particular sport. Dynamic Yoga goes beyond simple stretching, by working the muscles and joints through all ranges of motion-activating the little-used muscles that support the primary movers.
The body must be worked through all planes of motion in order to remain balanced and healthy. Dynamic Balance Yoga works not just in the sagittal plane but, in the frontal and transverse planes as well, ensuring well-rounded development.
The Yoga postures used in Dynamic Balance yoga poses feature twisting motions in the transverse plane, essential to opening up tight oblique’s and lower backs. Sequences involving balancing postures are the most effective way to correct muscle imbalances and poor body mechanics. When an athlete’s body is working more efficiently bio-mechanically then they begin to realise how much of a distraction and energy drain an inflexible and misaligned body has been.
BREATH IS THE KEY
Of course, the most valuable element in Dynamic Balance yoga is the breathing system that accompanies the sequences. The attention to breath during yoga can be considered one of the most important benefits to athletes. Learning to stay focused and centred through challenging sequences and postures by concentrating on inhalations and exhalations creates an athlete who is extremely aware and centred in the most stressful of situations.
In addition, Dynamic Balance yoga helps athletes to relax not just tight muscles, but also anxious and overstressed minds. Being more relaxed will not only help the athlete recover quickly but also make better decisions when under pressure.
Athletes of all disciplines have very repetitive movements usually in one direction and in one plane of motion. This means that sportspeople develop certain muscle groups while ignoring others. Athletes train and perform in these set patterns day after day, which eventually leads to imbalances in the muscles and joints leading to overuse injuries. A classic example is footballers developing tight hamstrings and hip flexors which cause the body to recruit from other joints, joints not intended for bearing extra loads such as the knees and ankles.
Dynamic Balance is so much more than a workout. It is a way to get in touch with the deepest elements of yourself, emotionally, spiritually and above all physically.