According to Feuerstein, Bodian, and the staff of Yoga Journal, poise is developed by practicing Asana (yoga poses) “correctly, efficiently, and elegantly… with the right inner disposition.” Poise comes of maintaining good posture, with ease in all circumstances. This is a summation of the concepts of balance and maintenance of good health practices, cultivated by practicing yogic awareness and posturing. Poise ensures that we are constantly ready for the demands we place on our body, and able to respond with ease.
Balance is developed through a union of oppositions of tension and relaxation. We gradually increase strength and stamina, and balance it with relaxing release, meditation, pranayama (breath work), and restorative poses.
Health practices speak directly to the body and to the immune system. Good posture allows for smooth and fluid movement and reduces the risk of injury. Body language in yoga can signal well-being to the nervous system, so it is important to communicate poise throughout posturing in practice. Put attention to correcting alignment, softening facial expressions, and keeping practice at a level of “effortless effort,” rather than striving to do more or go farther. Breathe in and out through the nose, not mouth, to maintain a relaxed state, and avoid straining face, neck, and heart muscles. Ride the breath, rather than muscling through poses.
With continued attention to right action and restorative relaxation, the entire human system continually receives the benefits of practice. As we become more aware of our posture, poise, and health, we continually make corrections to energetic imbalances, refining our union of oppositions, and creating a culmination of well-being in all circumstances.
-Thomas Masanz, Certified Yoga Instructor – WOW Yoga