Balance, something we all strive for but that often seems to elude us. Why is finding balance in our lives so difficult?
One definition of balance is “an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”.
How does this apply to our practice & our lives?
In our practice we try to balance our body, making small adjustments so we can stay upright & steady. But if we hold on too tightly or don’t work effectively, we will fall. Like in Goldilocks & the Three Bears story, not to hot, not too cold, but just right. So an effortless effort is needed, of which the breath is a huge part, as I spoke of in my last blog, Mindful Movement Using the Breath. When we breathe mindfully, it helps us find our balance easier in our practice.
In life balance is about making sure we don’t focus too much on work & not enough on family, or too much on others & not enough on our self.
But this distribution of weight we are balancing, what is it on?
It is on ourselves. So balance is first about finding that balance in our own selves, not just being in our mind, but also our body, not just seeing our outer self, but also our Inner Self. Some call focusing so much on yourself as selfish. I once read an article stating that this is instead selfFULL. If we don’t do what we need within ourselves to recharge we become low on what we need to give to others & eventually will burn out. Balance is not possible in this state & to find it again becomes much more effort.
That is where our yoga practice comes in. Taking time to be with our breath, thoughts & body will help us to connect to that Inner Self. It is when we connect to this deepest part of ourselves, that we can start to see some perspective. When we work with our body, if we can not judge the differences from our left & right sides, for example, can we just see they are different. Can we learn to accept each side as they are in that moment so the whole body can learn to work together to find balance in an asana (pose). Now our body does not find that balance point & just stay there, there are constant adjustments made that are both automatic & deliberate that will help us to stay steady. So instead of thinking of balance as a constant state, true balance come from constantly adjusting as needed to the forces put upon us.
In life, to find balance we need to focus at times on one thing, then another & another, but not staying on one thing too long or we will loose our steadiness & falter. It’s like what’s happening on social media right now, we could constantly be reading & seeing post after post & lose sight of other aspects of the world. It is important not to bury your head in the sand & ignore the world & what is going on, but it is also important to experience your own world of family & friends that is around you. What also can happen is that these images & thoughts can cause you to move into anxiety & fear & we start losing the ability to balance these emotional states & we become ill, depressed & withdrawn. Now I am newer to social media, & am learning it’s ways, & see how it can be a way to connect to the world, to share ideas & inspire each other, but there is also a lot of negativity on it as well. It draws us in & can at times take us away from our best self. I need to know when to say enough & come back into myself to process all of what I’m feeling. I need to come back to my practice to help me keep a perspective that I am empowered enough to deal with what the world throws at me.
That may be why I love being a Yoga Teacher so much, as yes, it is my job, but is also a direct connection to people. That connection helps me work through my own thoughts & feelings as I hope to help my students do the same thing. I don’t know if they know how much they bring into the space of my classes, that often helps me with my own struggles.
The Community of a class Empowers & Connects me to others in such a profound & beautiful way. Which is why I put on my first ever mini retreat called Empower & Connect - mini Self Care Retreat last night & had the pleasure to spend 4 hours with 10 other lovely ladies. We did 1 hour of yoga here in Cochrane, focused on the solar plexus (home of our power) & the heart (home of compassion). Then we had an amazing dinner made by Adriana at The Cave Sauna & Spa. Then 2 hours of sauna/steam/chilling & cooling off, while chatting, sharing & just enjoying time for ourselves while connecting to each other. The common thread I heard is that we don’t take this time often enough for ourselves to relax & reset, as life is busy & we have so much on our plates. Ironically, in this world of social media, we often feel cutoff from people & find it hard to connect. We realized these times we give ourselves help us to know we are not alone in our struggles & that in community we can help find ways to get more balance into our lives. I want to thank those 10 women for such a wonderful evening that I hope to do again soon & Adriana at the Cave Sauna & Spa for such a beautiful place she has built & her warm hospitality. Check out http://www.cavesaunaspa.com to see how to book a spot for your self care getaway.
Go to acyoga.net or look on my facebook page Anne Cox or AC Yoga to see when the next one will be if you wish to join in (next date is still being worked out). Also check out the classes on acyoga.net to see where I teach in Calgary at Yogamcc.com, Knox United Church & in Cochrane if you’d like to join our yoga community by taking some classes.
Remember, balance is something we need to discover for ourselves, but there are times that we can find it difficult on our own. Community can help us to create a balanced life that not only helps ourselves but those around us & as happens then the world at large. We all appear to be different, but in essence we all want the same things to belong, be seen, feel save & loved, so in that we are the same. The world will not find balance until each one of us understands & lives from this perspective, which is a lot of work, will be well worth the effort.
Anne Cox E-RYT 500