Balance - even on a Monday morning :)
Balance, a subject I come back to time & time again, as it is so difficult for us to find it in this fast paced world. This weekly blog is a bit late, as I needed to find a bit of balance, as I had a overly busy Friday & weekend with my family. Balance is knowing when you need to adapt your schedule when it’s needed, so here I am, writing on a Monday morning instead….
How do we find more balance in our lives? We always seem to be running from one thing to another & perhaps the only time we take a break is when we make it to our yoga class. As always, we can use our yoga practice to play with balance. It can be taken in a literal way, as in how do we balance in our asana (postures)? The left & right sides of our body are not the same as we use each side differently or we could have an injury on one side. Instead of thinking balance means doing the same thing on both sides, try & do what each side needs which might mean doing the pose differently on one side than the other. Also, seeing how each side has to do it’s own job in keeping the body as a whole balanced in our asanas. This then reminds us to see how we need to find a balance of effort & ease in our bodies as we practice. You don’t want to hold the body too tightly, or you are using tension not strength to hold the pose. But if you are too loose, balance will elude you. Using the breath can help us to feel that effortless effort, by helping our body to find strength & length simultaneously.
Out yoga practice is not just about the physical balance, it is about learning how to balance our inner & outer selves. That all our work is not just for our body, mind & emotions, but also, to connect to our Spiritual side, the place of our True Nature. When we connect with our True Selves, we are reminded that we have all the wisdom we need, if we only listen from within. By connecting to our practice in a Spiritual way, we can see that we are already the things we seek, Joy, Peace, Love….& can we use that awareness to bring balance to our outer world.
Our breath is the bridge between our physical & spiritual selves, so at any time you are feeling out of balance, come back to the breath. It can be used as a point of focus for the mind, an awareness tool to see if we are putting too much or too litter effort, or directed to help you deepen you practice. I find the biggest sign of being out of balance is forcing or holding the breath or not even being aware of it in the first place. I have joked in class that I am going to produce a CD that every 20 minutes you hear my voice say “Are you breathing?”. Now, I know you are, as you are reading this right now, so you are alive. But consciously breathing is different. It is bringing you into this moment, instead of dwelling in the past or jumping forward into the future, a conscious breath is the point of balance. So consciously take a “breath break” once every hour or so, to just check in with yourself by mindfully breathing. At first, even set an alarm on your smart phone, or what ever you have, as your 1 minute breath break. You might be amazed by taking this short break often, you will feel more present & you might even find you have more space at the end of your day. Being present & relaxed helps waste less time & make more time for the things you love to do, hence, being more balanced.
All of this attention to balance in our practice allows us the awareness to notice when we are out of balance in our lives & do what we need to get back on track. We are pulled in many ways, with work, our family, friends, personal time…. easier said than done to have them all balanced. We need to first work on ourselves so we can notice when we need to shift our focus from one part of our lives to another. A balanced life is a juggling act, but instead of racing to catch each ball, it’s more like a professional juggler who anticipates each ball & is there to catch it. Eventually you become familiar to the rhythm & are used to changing from one focus to another, juggle with ease & confidence.
If you feel so inclined, I have attached a link by Phillip Moffitt founder of the Life Balance Institute, on the balance between effort & ease for you to read. I find his writing very inspirational & maybe you will too.
Now, back to my regular Monday morning routine….
Anne Cox E-RYT 500