The quickest posture in the Hot Yoga Series is the Bikram Balancing Stick Pose, the Balancing Stick or another name for it is the Balancing Staff. The Sanskrit name is Tuladandasana which breaks down in English as follows: Tula has the translation into English of "Balance," Danda has the meaning of "Stick" or "Staff." Asana has the meaning in English of "Pose." Another name for this posture is Warrior 3 or Virabhadrasana 3. Vira means "Warrior" or "Hero," Bhadra has the meaning of "Friend," and of course, Asana has the meaning in English of "Pose." Balancing Stick is the final posture in the Balancing Series portion of Bikram Hot Yoga.
In the Bikram Balancing Stick Pose you begin the posture by bringing your hands above your head and pressing the palms together nicely and tight. The grip is like the one in half moon pose where you interlace your fingers, release your fingers, and cross your thumbs. By pressing your palms together, you open and strengthen your neck, shoulders, and ultimately the spine. To understand how tight to squeeze your palms together, one of my original teachers had a trick where he would hand out pens and press the palms together hard enough to hold the pen in place until the end of the pose. Your arms should be straight and pulled with your ears.
Keep your eye gaze forward, lift your chin up, and open your chest towards the front mirror. Work on bringing in your stomach and keep it pulled in throughout the posture. You are now ready to step into the pose, so take a big inhale in and fill your lungs. You need to step forward on your right foot three feet in front of you and keep your hips square. Once you have stepped forward on your right foot, hinge at the waist, and come down forward with a perfectly straight spine. As you step into the posture, work on pointing the toes on your left foot nice and straight. The standing leg in the pose should be perfectly straight like a steel beam, and the weight is distributed evenly throughout the standing foot.
There are a couple of things to be aware of when going into the posture, but the two main things to focus on are a perfectly straight spine, and the hips are square and in alignment. You should eventually look like a capital T so that your spine is perfectly straight. If you are a beginner, you may not be able to come that far down into the pose but do not worry about it. Go to where you can no matter the depth, but you need to keep the spine straight like a plywood board. The other important thing to remember is to keep the hips square. If, for some reason, your hips are not square, pull back into one line even if you have to sacrifice some depth in the posture.
Part of keeping the spine straight is to keep the left leg as straight as possible. Keeping the leg perfectly straight will assist in keeping the spine straight. Your arms should be with your ears and perfectly straight with no bending elbows. Keep squeezing the palms together to open the deltoids and shoulders. You need to stretch the hands towards the front mirror and stretch the left leg and toes to the back wall as if you are pulling in opposite directions. Once again, make sure your hips are square for the whole duration of the posture. After holding the posture for twenty seconds, release the pose, come to the center, and repeat the same thing on the other side of the body. In the Bikram Series, you do two sets of the pose as you do in most of the poses in the Series.
The Bikram Balancing Stick Pose in the Hot Yoga Series is the quickest pose to do but can be very challenging and has a lot of benefits. You will notice that you are using the same grip as in Half Moon Pose. Really work on pressing the palms together as much as you can. As with most Bikram poses, you primarily work the spine by stretching, lengthening, opening, moving, and strengthening the spine.
You are also working on your ability to balance one leg as well. You need to make sure your hips are square for the entirety of the Balancing Stick Pose. As with all yoga poses, practicing regularly is the key to improving the posture and getting all its positive benefits. I hope this blog post about Bikram Balancing Stick Pose was informative and will help you in your practice. Have a good day, or as in the world of yoga, we say Namaste.