March 16, 2012

Balance Board Video

Balance is so important and you don't realize it until you lose it. I had great balance until  the Multiple Sclerosis changed that.

My Multiple Sclerosis caused some permanent damage in my left eye and ear. My eye is fine for the most part but the left ear always rings, some days worse then others. For a long time I would run into door frames with my shoulder, thinking I was in the middle of the doorway. I would lose my balance if I turned my head to look in a different direction or plane while walking. If I stayed on the same plane I was fine for the most part, but if I would get on a ladder and look up the brain couldn't process the transition the eyes just made and again I would lose my balance.

When I started Yoga the balance poses were impossible, I would fall out every time. I used a wall, table, or chair as a prop so I could get through the poses. Over time, I learned where my body was and strengthened those parts needed for balance. I had improved to the point that I didn't need the props anymore.

The balance board became a part of my routine, I figured it's a balance board and I'm having balance issues so why not give it a try. What I found was that besides helping with balance it strengthened my feet, ankles, calves, knees, and hips. I chose the round balance board so I could work 365 degrees all the way around covering every angle.

I do the balance board three days a week. As you can see on the video I rock front to back from heel to toe. Then rotate in circles to the outside from heel, outside of foot, toe, inside foot, and back to heel. Last and the hardest rotate in circles to the inside from heel, inside of foot, toe, outside foot, and back to heel. I switch left leg then right leg to complete each balance movement set on both legs before moving on to the next balance movement. The demo video is limited in number of heel toe taps and rotations, in my practice I do 15 of each type and it is quicker on concrete for the rotations.

My balance is not perfect but from where I started until today it is so improved. I still fall out of poses especially if it's where my head is turned and looking up. For example doing Rotated Triangle Pose my head and eyes are going from looking at the floor and transition to looking at the wall on my way up to the ceiling. This sometimes confuses my brain and I will have to come out of the pose and set it up again. I continue tweaking poses to keep training my nerves, muscles, tendons...to hopefully reach even better balance. Yoga poses aren't static, you keep tweaking and adjusting no matter how many years you have been practicing, continuing to improve the pose with better balance and alignment.

The balance board I use has three settings that can be changed from beginner to advanced. You start out with the easiest setting and work your way from there, building your balance and strength over time. It's best to use the board on concrete like in a basement or garage. I'm using a hard rubber mat for demo purposes on the video instead of the storage part of my basement with concrete where I generally use the balance board.

Having a wall next to you is a must, I use the wall every time I do this practice and some days are better than others. If you begin this routine start slow get your body used to the movements at the easiest settings only doing each direction a couple times. You do not want to end up with pain the next day that would deter you from continuing.

Healthy & Happy,
Yoga Chuck

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