Improving Standing Balance

These notes are based on an Awareness Through Movement lesson in the Dynamic Balance Series, 2021. 

 

Begin with Exploration #1 and repeat as you like to feel fully comfortable before going on to #2, etc.  Do a short standing assessment before your begin the movement exploration.  Gradually, you'll find you can remember and fit these into your day.

Beginning Assessment – always check in with yourself.  A few suggestions of what to notice:

  • weight/placement of each foot/part of foot on the floor

  • where you are looking, how you are breathing

  •  sense of balance on each leg

  • walk, noticing what parts of yourself draw your attention, participate in the walking.

 

Safety Note – your first priority, so have a chair handy, stand near a wall or in a hallway.

Stand near a chair to allow a hand on the chair, if needed.  You may stand and/or walk between segments;    

        or rest by walking or sitting.  Rest between movements within the explorations and as frequently as you'd like.

Exploration #1 -- hand can be on chair

  • Bend R knee enough to  lift heel

  • Lift ball & toes                  

  • Alternate lifting heel and then lifting ball & toes

  • Can vary speed

Stand and walk, then repeat with L leg

Exploration #2 – hand can be on chair

  • Alternate: lift heel of one foot and at the same time, the ball and toes of other foot

  • Options for Challenge

  • Hand off chair

  • Looking around slowly, lifting & lowering, etc

  • Eyes closed

Exploration #3—hand can be on chair

  • Take pelvis side to side

  • Add roll to inside & outside edges of feet

Cross R/L at ankles (Right foot over L foot) Adjust as needed so both feet on floor

  • Shift pelvis side to side

  • Shift head and shoulders side to side

Stand and walk, then repeat with L/R at ankles

Exploration 4 -- hand can be on chair

Cross R foot over L (R/L) at the ankles.  Adjust  so both feet are on the floor.

  • Shift weight forward/back (F/B) - heels and/or balls may lift

  • Look around, up, down, around to each side

Stand and repeat with left foot over right at ankles

Exploration #5 -- hand can be on chair

Cross R/L at ankles Adjust so both feet on floor

  • Shift weight F/B and R/L on joined feet

  • Make a circle of pressure around both feet

  • Circle in other direction

  • Find other places within yourself that “circle” and see how your attention affects the movement around your feet.

Stand, then repeat with L/R at ankles

 

NOTICE: what parts move and don’t move: ankle, hip, pelvis, etc. Up the chain to your head

Start slowly, go smoothly.

Vary your speed and notice how various parts of you move (or not)

Does pelvis turn a bit? Go side to side and with heel that is up or down?

Start slowly, go smoothly.

Vary your speed and notice how various parts of you move (or not)

Does pelvis turn a bit? Go side to side and with heel that is up or down?

Start very small and slow, noting how the rest of yourself responds.

Gauge your comfort by your breath (even  play with holding breath to feel the result!)

Pay attention to pelvis and ribs and how they move (or not).

Again, go slowly at first, noting how the rest of yourself responds.

Breathe easily throughout. Note tension in jaw,   eyes, neck, face, etc.

 Pay attention to how pelvis and ribs could move to make this smoother, rounder.

Exploration #6 – arms out, shoulder height,      holding imaginary swords

  • Sit in chair (option) and reach side to side, F/B with arms

  • Stand on two feet and reach side to side, F/B with arms

  • Cross R/L at ankles so and reach side to side, F/B with arms

  • Cross L/R at ankles so and reach side to side, F/B with arms

  • Explore reaching in all directions, up, down, around to each side with ankles crossed in each position.

Go slowly, breathing easily.  Stopping to rest before you need to.

 

Appreciate how some directions are more accessible than others but it may not depend on the position of the feet – sometimes it’s the ribs or spine or shoulder that affects the action even more.

Walk and notice the width of your “path” and the length of your stride.  Notice how your arms swing as your shoulders move.  Repeat the assessment you did at the beginning.  Appreciate the learning you achieved with a sense of playfulness and curiosity.  Enjoy your newfound balance and graceful walk.