The inner ear helps tell the body the direction it is moving in. It works with sight and other cues that let the body know where it is, and these all affect your balance. Yoga can be connected with the inner ear and balance in two ways: the inner ear can affect your balance in a yoga class and yoga seems to benefit inner ear balance problems.
Inner Ear Affecting Your Practice
Many yoga poses involve balancing. You might need to balance on your arms or on one leg. But if you have an inner ear problem, it can throw off your balance, affecting your ability to perform these types of poses. In addition, many poses move your body into abnormal positions. When you suddenly move your head in a different direction than your body is turned or turn your head up quickly, your brain needs to figure out which way you are going. If you turn your head too quickly, it can affect your balance. Making slow movements and focusing on the position of your body can help.
Adapting Your Yoga Session
When you have an inner ear balance problem, you should adapt and personalize each class to fit your needs for that day. In general, focus on a single point, like a non-moving spot on the wall, or focus on the part of your body touching the floor. Also, take slow breaths, avoid moving the head too much or too quickly and hold onto a wall for balance. Rely on props like blocks; for example, place a block under your head in a forward bend to support it and keep it from moving. Discuss any concerns you might have with your yoga teacher -- they will help you with adjustments so you can feel confident moving through the poses.
Identifying Balance Problems
A yoga session encourages you to pay attention to your posture and balance, which can help you identify balance and misalignment problems that result from an inner ear problem. In addition, a yoga class can help you improve your balance over time. For example, you can perform a balance pose like Tree pose with your eyes closed; instead of overcompensating on sight, this will allow the other parts of your brain involved in balance to come into play.
Use Certain Poses and Classes
Certain yoga poses can improve your balance if you have an inner ear problem. Start with grounding poses like Mountain pose and Corpse pose. Practice balance poses like Tree pose while holding on to something steady. Other beneficial poses include Bridge pose and others that open the chest, and ones that stretch your muscles like Staff pose and Lying Down Big Toe pose. The Vestibular Disorders Association explains that certain yoga styles are better than others when you have a balance disorder. It notes that yoga classes that flow from one pose to the next, such as vinyasa and Bikram, are not the right type. Instead, it recommends Iyengar yoga, which has a strong focus on form.