One of the main things I have learned the past few years from teaching yoga is that balance is an underrated principle of our everyday functioning. Literally, we all need balance and the older we get the less we have. Having good balance is more complex than you may realize.
A good sense of balance involves the integration of various sensory and motor skills. However, there are a variety of things that can reduce our sense of balance, both internally and externally. Balance is maintained by the vestibular system, a small organ in the inner ear, and it can be negatively affected when the organ is damaged or not working correctly.
As we age, balance becomes more of an issue as our critical systems begin to weaken. The aging process is typically associated with visual impairment, inner ear problems, muscle weakness or peripheral neuropathy. These systems all play a critical role in your body’s ability to stay balanced.
So where does Yoga fit in? Yoga can help improve balance. While strength can help a person avoid a fall, you’re also a lot less likely to trip and fall if you’ve regularly practiced yoga poses like tree pose, triangle pose and mountain pose. Better balance may not seem like a big deal until you consider that falls are a leading cause of hip fractures, the loss of independence, and admission to a nursing home. Yoga helps you use your body in an overall more balanced way, left to right and front to back, which can help minimize the muscle imbalance that often leads to bothersome symptoms and injuries.