Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Finding balance in an unbalanced world

There is often so much going on around us that it's hard to find balance. Between careers, school, family, friends, housekeeping, bills and on and on and on, many of us end up feeling tired, stressed, out of whack and most definitely out of balance.

In our yoga practice, it's all about balance. Not just standing on one leg balance (although that is welcome too), but finding evenness in the breath, finding focus in the mind, finding a balance between muscular energy and organic energy and yes, even finding balance in the balancing postures. We come to our mats to help us create and find that balance and bring it to our daily lives. When we take the time to consciously breathe and find that time for ourselves, we find that we can find the focus and figure out the balance in our daily lives.

When we fall down on our mat, we get up, brush ourselves off and try again. If we do this enough times, perhaps, when we fall down in life, we will do the same. It's all just a practice and we keep on learning with every step.

A simple breathing technique to find that balance in the breath is sama vritti or "same change". So, as you inhale through your nose, count your breath in. As you "change" the breath, or exhale, also through the nose, try to find the same count. Do this for several rounds. You are welcome to incorporate ujjayi breath for this practice also. You should start to feel yourself settling down and finding some focus and balance, not only in your breath, but in your body and mind.

For a balancing posture to practice, give vrksasana or tree pose a try. Stand firmly on your left leg, bring the bottom of your right foot to the inside of your left leg, anywhere except the knee. Open your right knee out to the side, so that the hip is opening. Stand tall, draw your shoulders back, draw the navel towards the spine and bring your palms together at your heart or raise them above your head. Breathe. Take 5-8 breaths here and then switch sides.

Like trees, we need to firmly plant ourselves in the ground and then we can bend and blow in the wind.

As B.K.S. Iyengar says, "Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union - the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions."


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