I find that my ability to balance on any given day reflects how grounded I'm feeling. If I'm distracted or stressed then I definitely wobble more. So it helps to prepare for balances with some seated poses and deep breathing to get centred.
Many teachers put balance poses after a period of dynamic sequences such as sun salutations. I tend to use standing balances before we get dynamic as balancing helps to fire-up postural muscles, large and small, that we use in the yoga flow.
Success in balancing starts at our feet. As you stand in preparation, become aware of the three points of the foot - the big toe, little toe and heel. You can slowly shift your weight around until you feel a 'sweet-spot' where you're rooted down.
This exploration may lead you to notice whether you pronate (inner arch is weak, little toe lifts) or supinate (ankles straining out to the sides as the big toe lifts). One of the great long term benefits of standing balances is to strengthen the muscles of the lower leg and foot to correct imbalances.
- Find your foundation: spread your toes wide and centre your body weight on the balancing foot
- Drill your gaze into a point on the floor about 3ft in front of you e.g. the corner of the mat in front
- Keep your breath steady