Balance. You hear me talk about it all the time. It’s at the heart of everything we learn, or at least seek to learn, in our practice of yoga. And it’s probably one of the hardest things to understand, obtain, and most importantly, maintain.
Think about it in your physical practice. Think about what gets stirred up inside you when you’re trying to hold your most challenging balance posture. Is it a standing pose or an arm balance? Mentally walk yourself through what happens when you try it. For me, it’s Virabhadrasana C (Warrior 3). That freakin’ pose, man, especially on my left leg, can stop time. Seconds become eons. The one leg I have to stand on feels like 2 toothpicks stacked precariously to hold up the 2-ton tanker of my body. I get worried, anxious, sometimes angry that I won’t be able to stay long enough in the pose. Grr, why is this so hard?!
And that is a microcosm of what usually happens when we even think about creating and sustaining balance in our lives, not to mention what happens when we actually attempt it. Yet, it’s so important. I’d venture to say it’s the most important thing we can do for ourselves, for the people we love, and for the life we want to look back on when we take our final breath. Yeah, we’ll probably be fine if we skip practicing balance postures in yoga. But we simply cannot afford to ignore practicing balance in our lives (and those balance postures can certainly help us get there!).
Don’t just take it from me. Nigel Marsh delivers some wonderful thoughts on the subject in his Ted Talk at the end of this post. He says, “If you don’t design your life, someone else will design it for you, and you may just not like their idea of balance.” (Hint: Year by Design is still there for you!) What I appreciate most about his approach to the subject is his emphasis on sustainability and setting realistic goals for ourselves. Put simply, “we need to approach balance in a balanced way.” Yes!
So check it out, but don’t stop at this video or this post. I challenge you to then take one action, ONE, today towards your ideal picture of a perfectly balanced day. Celebrate that achievement. Then repeat it, again and again until it becomes a habit. Small changes on a regular basis will make all the difference in the long run, so much more so in fact than sweeping, dramatic changes that are impossible to maintain. Because, as you’ll hear, “with the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life.”