As we enter a new age of yoga trends, our spirits must be thanking us. Yoga has always been a way to enhance the lifestyle we live and now we have the opportunity to infuse this practice into every aspect of our lives. We must remember, however, that life is ever changing and the true art of yoga teaches us to maintain both inner and outer balance throughout life’s ups and downs.
What is Balance?
Physical balance in yoga is the ability of the body to maintain a given posture without tumbling over. Mental balance, on the other hand, refers to maintaining inner peace of mind regardless of outside circumstances. The yoga lifestyle teaches us to embrace both forms of balance as a means to a healthy and fulfilling life.
Balance can feel amazing when it’s on point, but terrible when we experience a loss of it. When our balance is working for us, our confidence flourishes, our minds feel satisfied, and our bodies empowered. But when our balance is missing, a cluster of feelings can arise beyond what we want to experience. As our balance slips away, we find ourselves questioning everything, and sometimes those questions can find deeply rooted answers to help us regain the balance we desire.
We can only experience a loss of balance on and off our mat when we’ve had the wonderful experience of feeling balance to begin with. The beauty behind balance-loss is the fact that we can feel when things are not flowing and this allows us to be more attentive to finding it again. There is an art to understanding why balance-loss can be healthy.
The Value of Balance-loss
When we acknowledge balance-loss, we gain an understanding about our true self. The art of balance through yoga is all around us. For example, in a hot-yoga class with thirty sticky mats and thirty sweaty bodies inches away from each other, our focus and intention is a lot different than during a home session in a private living room. Some may find the over-packed class to be inspiring – a chance to engage energies with like-minded souls in order to find peace and balance. Some, however, may find the class to be overwhelming with focus shifting to every other soul in the room.
When external situations consume our internal focus and desires, our balance naturally slips away. Home practice may be just as tiring if we allow it to be. Our minds may see what needs to be cleaned around the house, for example, and our intention of stepping on the mat is now pulled off of the mat. These moments of balance-loss can be great tools to help us grow if we allow them to be. Yoga teaches us to acknowledge life for both its ups and downs. Yoga helps to bind the body, which allows us to feel more of our body and connect deeper into our minds. Balance-loss becomes a trivial point to grow from as long as we have the understanding that, through it, we will find balance.
Balanced Life Moments
Recently I found myself questioning the very loss of balance in my own life. My external world seemed to crash in on itself, like the ocean waves colliding with each other during the shifts in tides. I allowed an external connection with my car problems to deeply affect my balance. I took in the problem, as though it were my own, as if I were to blame for my car’s engine issue. At the moment of the issue, I didn’t take into account that my car had over 150,000 miles! I had attached myself to my vehicle so much so that I felt the disappointment and heaviness of the problem like I let my car down in some way. I was only able to step out of my position when I engaged with a friend who told me kindly about her blessed day with a truly remarkable woman.
My friend was at the graduation of her best friend, a friend whom has been dealing with a lot more loss than a car’s engine problem. As graduate student working to enlighten children through becoming a guidance counselor, she had to undergo a pancreatic transplant a few years back. Due to a compromised immune system she lost her vision. At thirty-one her vision was now only clear during her dreams, because she awoke and lived in darkness. Her balance-loss is extreme but she has been working on regaining her strength to re-balance internally. Of course as soon as I was told this, my attachment to my car seemed completely unnerving.
As a yogi, I allowed myself to question my external balance-loss and compared it to this woman’s internal balance-loss. As we talked deeper about how our journeys in life may feel dark at times, it allows us to see and feel the light of living. It can get us out of our attachments of the external world, and into a deeper internal place to live. We can let our true self shine and experience the bliss that the world provides us each and every day.
Life can hand us opportunities that, in the moment, feel as though the entire world is caving in; however, if we learn to breathe through those moments, we can find a better balance of life and living once balance has returned. Whether we are on or off our mats, the art of living yoga embodies every reaction we engage with to every situation that has entered our life.