A Reflection on Balance
In yoga and in life, balance is a major element. We work on balance within poses. We work on poses specifically to challenge our balance. These poses can instil a deep sense of calm, even though they require intense, unwavering alertness.
Balance requires strength, flexibility, and the willingness to challenge ourselves.
It encourages up to push beyond our comfort zones a little bit. It requires alignment, focus and attention. We challenge our bodies to stretch a little bit further. To stand a little bit taller. To reach a little beyond what we think we can do.
Balance is a skill to be practiced and developed. In our balance poses, we focus our attention to maintaining our balance moment by moment, staying grounded in the present. As we center and re-center, we bring our physical frame into balance as well as our nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and consciousness.
We experience a state of equilibrium. We feel grounded, centred, stable. We feel a state of calm. Lack of equilibrium brings just the opposite. We can feel ungrounded, unstable, off-balance. It can be frustrating to lose our balance in a pose.
Despite that frustration, balancing poses offer so many benefits:
- They promote concentration and calm
- They strengthen our muscles
- They improve coordination and posture
- They improve the way we walk and move through our day
- Yoga and health are all about finding balance
- Effort and rest, stretching and strengthening, Yin and yang,
- Finding balance leads to optimal health. We can take our practice of balance off the mat and into our lives
Putting it into practice:
Next time you are standing up. Lean most of your weight on to your left foot and imagine that this represents the time you spend thinking about the past. Then lean your weight over to your right foot and imagine that this represents the time you spend thinking about the future. Rock from one side to the other side, imagine this represents rushing from thing to another without being mindful about what you are doing, why you are doing it and if you are enjoying it.
When you are rocking from the past to the present, it feels quite unstable. Some people say it makes them dizzy. It becomes almost impossible to think clearly with so much movement and yet this is how many of us live our lives on a daily basis.
Then come to rest standing firmly on both feet. Take a deep breath in and out. This is what it feels like to be in the present. Grounded, centred, stable. Perhaps you feel solid here. Or unshakeable. When you stand still for a moment, you become more present. More aware of what is here around you. Things become clearer.
Being present in the here and now makes you much more effective. This is where you can breathe, where you notice what is here and you become open to making decisions based on what you can see, hear, feel around you.
As we challenge our balance physically in yoga, we can take that skill and apply it to any area of our life. It takes focus, attention, and strength. It takes awareness, willingness, and effort.
When you next leave your yoga practice, be open to the areas in your life that may need more balance and know that you have what it takes to create that.Does our life feel balanced or unbalanced?
Does our body feel balanced or unbalanced?
Where in our lives could we use more balance?
Does one part of our life dominate?
Do we have enough play time? Enough time for ourselves?
Do we have a balanced diet? Do we get enough sleep?
Do we take time for family and friends?
Do we take time to nourish our mind and spirit?
Where in our lives could we bring more balance?
“Live a balanced life: learn some and think some and draw and paint some and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
May you find balance
May you create balance
May you live in balance
My love of yoga began in 2002 whilst on a backpacking trip in Thailand. I found myself in a yoga retreat on a beautiful beach and never looked back. The beach and yoga resonate in my soul, we were meant to be together. Ever since, I have travelled the world exploring and deepening my practice. I spent a year in India, staying in a number of Ashrams and have also practiced in Hawaii, Costa Rica and various other far flung places. In 2006 I handed in my notice as a psychology lecturer to run a windsurf yoga centre in Cabo Verde. Since having children I am now settled here on the South Coast and thorough enjoy teaching yoga, including ante/postnatal, as well as running a yoga teacher training course.