If you are like me, I often feel the need to control my environment and my life, but feeling out of control occurs more than I would like. As a working woman, I frequently feel overwhelmed by life itself. Things come at me in various times with different intensities. Work will take every moment of my day if I allow it. I try to take a step back and consciously make it a priority to restore balance by practicing self care. I used to associate balance with eating "a balanced diet", not eating too much or too little, or getting enough sleep. A close friend always described balance as "everything in moderation." I have the tendency to be one side or the other, a bit of a extremist. Turns out it doesn't have to be that way. The word 'balance' keeps showing up in my yoga class. I always admired yogis and people who practice yoga but was scared to practice because I thought I wasn't flexible enough. To my surprise, flexibility wasn't the challenge, balancing is more intimidating. Being new to yoga, I am not able to maintain any pose that require balancing and it gets worse when I start comparing myself with the person in front of me.
It's interesting when even on the mat we bring the same doubts and inadequacies we have in daily life. Just as in life, the key is to focus on yourself and embrace where you are at that specific moment. I am learning to find balance in the practice of the breath which is more important than the pose itself. One of my yoga teachers always says "when you fall out of a pose, try again and again, you have to learn to balance because is just like life, you have to balance life", I get that. Yoga also helps me align. When I am on the mat I know when something is off mentally and emotionally by the quality of the breath. Meditation also focuses on the breath. I also find balance on the cushion. Sitting still for a long period of time is challenging. It's extremely difficult not to become attached to the stories in my head, not cling or react, to be in equanimity when the mind is agitated. It takes practice.
One of the reasons why I am sharing about balance and my yoga experience is because ever since I started practicing, I have been promoting the importance of the breath to my clients and how emotional memories are stored in the body which effects how we think and feel. Before I started practicing, I thought that yoga was just a trend like everything else. However, I have noticed how it has changed my physical and emotional life. It has improved my overall well being. I am not saying that everyone should practice. I do encourage for my clients and whoever read this to practice something because focusing and releasing the stress and memories in the body will improve the quality of life. The key is to be consciously aware, and utilize whatever works for you to move toward balance. "happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance". Thomas Merton.