Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Teeter-Totter of Yoga and Life
One of the things that drew me to yoga was balance. Not so much the standing on one leg thing, but that ebb and flow, give and take, a little here, a little there balance. What I've learned is that balance is not something that you find, define and replicate. It's in constant motion and finding it can be elusive.
In my twenties and thirties my definition of balance was control. I was on a mission to mold and direct everything. You can imagine my surprise when I found out I had control of nothing. Exhibit A, my children!
In my mid to late thirties, I adopted the mantra of “something's got to give.” This brought a sense of release and with it peace. A good friend assured me that if I said “no” to that project/committee/meeting, then someone else could say “yes” and I could say “yes” to something else. It was incredibly freeing! I could not control the world nor could I do every thing. But, I could do some things well, with great energy and love.
And now I've adopted a policy of trying to find balance, moderation, middle ground. As history serves, the pendulum swings back through the middle every time. Take nutrition craziness for example. Not long ago avocados were shunned because they were too high in fat and wine was just a luxury. Now, avocados are a “superfood” and red wine provides healthy antioxidants.
The practice of yoga has helped me to explore balance and the pendulum swing. In a physical sense, when trying to find that sweet spot of an asana (pose) there is a teeter-totter, a give and take. In adho mukha svanasana (down dog), when I press my hands to the mat, my shoulders creep to my ears, creating tension in the back of the neck and shoulders. When I pull my shoulders back, I lose some of the connection and rooting energy of my hands. Striking that perfect balance of opposites in that moment, on that day is quite the challenge. Bringing focus and awareness to the balance of opposites requires constant awareness and tending.
If you've been in my class and I've adjusted you back and forth, “lift here, press here, lift here, press here...”, then you may know what I'm talking about. Just as in life, when we make adjustments to find balance, it's not usually a one time thing.
In an emotional sense, balance is just as important. At times, it's the emotional extremes that make life interesting. On the upswing there are those big life events that you celebrate, like the birth of a child or the start of a new business. On the downswing there or those major challenges, like the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship. There's also the wonderful comfort of the times when you are in the middle chugging along with daily tasks, that middle ground, that balancing spot when things come together.
So, wherever you are on the teeter-totter, on the high up swing or hitting the ground on the down swing, know that somewhere in between is the sweet spot of the middle. Hang on tight and Enjoy the Journey!
Image credit: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/photo_15109768_multi-colored-teeter-totter.html'>jadthree / 123RF Stock Photo</a>