I’ve studied the Yoga Sutras, embraced the Power of Now, accepted the Four Agreements, let in the Light on Life, and even eaten, prayed, & loved. Turns out, All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten:
“Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”
This March the invitation is to BE balanced: Find Balance of Body & Mind.
It seems an unattainable goal; an illusion. We are all so BUSY, there is so much to do on our to-do lists. One list for work things to accomplish, one for the kids and all their schoolwork & activities, one for the home items that need to be addressed & fixed & purchased, and maybe (if you’re lucky) a list for your Self care, health, & peace of mind. The more you desire balance between all of the to-do’s, the more elusive it becomes!
But balance is not something you find, it is something you create. It is not stable or rigid, it has the ability to yield and move just as a high-rise tower sways with the wind. Just as you balance on your mat in Vrksasana. If you tighten & tense the muscles and become rigid, you collapse. On the other hand, if you relax the muscles and allow the body to yield, you flow with the movement and adapt to remain upright. You have to be engaged, but relaxed & neutral. Just do the pose. Without involving the mind. The mind adds the tension in a willful display of force simply because it wants to participate! You let the pose do its job. Your only job is to get out of the way.
Judith Lasater explains that
Action is simply doing the pose.
Friction is unnecessary efforting.
Now, not adding tension does not mean that we just hang out. The effort is in remaining neutral – simply doing the pose. The breath should be able to move and flow freely. If the breath is held or feels constricted in any way, there is friction & constriction. Finding that balance between the Will and the Surrender. The difference between “efforting” and simply doing the pose. The difference between forcing your Self to do something and just enjoying it, getting into the zone, surrendering.
Will is your sheer determination to push through any resistance in your way. It is rigid, absolute, and conflict prone. It’s that “get outta my way cause I’m gonna do this come hell or high water if it kills me” way. It is like going to the bookstore and buying a self-help book because it will “make you better”, then becoming angry when it doesn’t work!
Similar to in January when we discussed the difference between a resolution and an intention. A resolution is like that will or determination to reach a goal. Where an intention is a combination of will & surrender & acceptance to reach the same goal. It is more organic, less efforting, more flexibility, more gentle. More balanced.
“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.” Danielle Orner
Yoga offers us the knowledge to find balance in our daily life if we choose to use it. I encourage you to take your yoga practice off the mat this month. When the busyness becomes overwhelming or you are in a stressful situation, come back to the experience of feeling your feet on the mat in Tadasana. Allow the breath to move freely through the body. Be engaged, but relaxed. Make a conscious shift from effort-full to effort-less. Can you release the unnecessary efforting and just be okay?
Creating that balance between effort & surrender, will & acceptance, rigidity & flexibility in any situation in life. It’s easy when things are going your way and everything is falling into place. When the kids are doing their homework without an argument, when dinner is already in the crock pot, the laundry is done, and you are enjoying a glass of wine while watching the sunset. But how about in any situation? When the kids are screaming they don’t want to do their homework, you have no idea what’s for dinner and it’s 7pm, there are five loads of laundry to do, it’s raining, and you’re out of wine.
Finding balance here. Taking charge without being a bitch. Opening your mind to new possibilities, beliefs, and interests. Learning from your past mistakes but not letting them destroy your future. Knowing the difference between being kind and being a doormat. Fueling your passions & doing what makes you happy while being grateful for what you have. Finding a balance between holding on & letting go. Integrating & balancing all the layers of your life. And if you lose your balance, reach higher.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein
March is Spiritual Wellness Month and the 3-4 is the National Day of Unplugging. Coincidence? I think not. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, for twenty-four hours, unplug. Avoid technology, connect with loved ones, nurture your health. Get outside, avoid commerce, light candles, drink wine, eat bread. Find silence. Give back. Reconnect to what’s important to you. And when you re-plug… find a balance.
(*contact me for a free cellphone sleeping bag to assist you in resisting the electronic glow!)