A question of balance

Life is literally a question of balance.

And I’m not just talking about the vital life/work balance.

Nor about the precarious need to balance running vs family/social life, an issue that I keep harking back to in this blog.

(That’s because that particular balancing act is one that exercises me a lot & one that I fail quite spectacularly at.)

No, I’m talking about balance, as in physical stability.

In running group we do warm up stretches at the start of the session, and more often than not, I am absolutely rubbish, as I wobble away disastrously.

And then sometimes, I find I can actually hold a pose quite well.

So basically, my balance isn’t at all consistent.

Then, bang on trend, my husband showed me an article in the paper with tips for improving balance.

Here you go:

Ever-so-slightly worried by the “as one grows older” bit of the article, I promptly tried out the test to measure how long I could stand on one leg.

I did it with my daughter, and we both scored w-a-y better than the under 40 category.

I was thrilled.

She was nonchalant, of course, being in her 2os 😛

Didn’t fare quite so well in the closed eyes test, though.

I was in my age bracket, which is OK, but I was hoping for better.

I was intrigued by the suggestion that varying one’s shoe-heel height can help in improving balance, but since I tend to live in running shoes, and flip flops at home, and only wear heels to go out and party, realistically, there’s not too much I can do here.

Then there’s yoga.

Ah, now you’re talking…

After a false start a few years ago with a yoga teacher who was so dull he could send anyone to sleep, and who used to sit and slurp tea all through the class, I gave up.

Instead of feeling relaxed and zen at the end of his classes, I used to feel so irritable that I needed to go for a run to calm down.

But the more I run, the more I realise that in order to run well and happily and injury free, there’s a whole lot of other stuff to consider. And balance and stability and flexibility are all very important.

And yoga seems to fit the bill.

So 2 weeks ago, I restarted yoga.

With a different teacher, this time, who seems w-a-y better, who varies the exercises and who doesn’t drink tea during the classes 😛

Just today he made me balance on one leg, telling me it was good for people of my age…sigh…

Well, I didn’t fall over, so that’s already a big win.

I didn’t wobble too much, but the second I lost my concentration, it was all over.

One nano-second of inattention, and I started wobbling like a blancmange, and that was that.

Tree pose over.

For it was indeed the Vrksasana or tree pose that I was doing.

Even though I can get by in Hindi, I admit I had no idea what the “vrks” part of the word meant.

It is, apparently. from the Sanskrit word for tree.

This explanation (below) is interesting, and I especially like the idea of visualising sending roots deep into the earth.

I shall definitely try this the next time.

Anyway, the beginning of my quest for better balance has begun.

Whether it’ll make me a faster runner – who knows?

But if it helps shore me up against the inevitable effects of ageing, then I’m all for it.

Here’s a link too a good tutorial, guiding you through vrksasana.


  1. Do please post the photo so it’s stretchable. I’d like to give those balancing tests a go. Years ago someone told me to brush my teeth standing on one leg. I still do!


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