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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tip of the Week: Balancing Stick

 first posted 8/28/12

This posture is one of the most exhilarating, yet challenging postures in the Bikram Series. Just like Standing Head-to-Knee Pose and Standing Bow Pulling Pose, bringing the chest parallel to the floor helps to stimulate and bring strength to the heart, which is exactly why it is also known as “heart attack on a stick posture”! 

Tips to help improve your Balancing Stick


Your set up will determine how well you will perform your posture.  


Lean back slightly in the set up to stretch up toward the ceiling. 


Lift your chest and as you step into the posture LOCK your knees and elbows and CONTRACT every muscle, even before you start. This will improve stability in the posture.


Point your toes from beginning. After you step forward and before you bring your body down, lift your back leg one inch off the floor, and point your toes.


As you bring your body down, keep your back leg and arms in one solid straight line. If your arms come down before your leg comes up, or your leg comes up before your arms go down you are NOT in a straight line. You are a "broken umbrella".


With your arms glued to your ears, keep them and your back leg completely parallel to the floor.

Breathe slow and even! Because this posture is only 10 seconds long, people often try to hold their breath here.


Stomach, stomach, stomach! Stabilizing your core is key in this posture and will help you balance. Remember dead weight is heavy weight, so keep everything contracted and you’ll feel light as a feather.

Imagine like your body is being used in a game of tug-of-war. Your arms and legs should be stretching each other apart in opposite directions!

Benefits of the Balancing Stick Bikram Pose:

This particular Bikram yoga pose improves balance, increases endurance, increases lung capacity, stimulates the heart and arteries (strengthens the heart), helps to clear blockages from arteries helping to prevent future cardiac issues, helps varicose veins, burns fat, relieves tension spine, improves concentration. Physiologically, this posture stimulates the pancreas, liver, spleen, kidneys, and nervous system.

Rajashree Choudhury says that 300 calories are burned in this 10 second posture. That’s how much internal work your body is doing!

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