B A L A N C E
My yoga teacher always told us the poses that we hate doing are the ones that we need to practice the most. For me those are heart openers and balancing poses. I’m just not good at them. I cringed every time they are cued in class and I was always weary of instructing them in my classes because I thought if I couldn’t do them well I shouldn’t teach them.
But you know what, my yoga teacher was right. If we always ignore the things that we aren’t good at or that we are afraid of and only focus on the things that we like and are good at we will never move forward.
Our entire yoga practice is based on this idea of balance. Fundamentally, the only reason that we practice asana is to be able to sit still for long periods of time. Whatever we do on the right side we must also do on the left side. We flow from pose to counterpose. And while we stimulate the body we work to quiet the mind.
I have flat feet. That is my excuse for not being able to do standing balancing poses easily. I say excuse because it isn’t my flat feet at all that prevent me from controlling my balance; its my busy mind. Its the fact that I am unable in that moment to let go of the past (all the times that I failed at these poses), the future (my desire to execute these poses perfectly), or my ego (my need to be better than the yogi next to me balancing perfectly), and be present in the moment while I’m standing on one leg. I think too much. But as I stand at my sink trying to brush my teeth while balancing on one leg, it seems to happen so easily. Why? Because I am not in my head. My ego is silenced… there is nothing more humbling than a broken leg. I’m not thinking about last week in yoga when I fell, or how the pose needs to be perfect with my leg fully extended and my hips square…blah..blah..blah… In fact it is perfect because I’ve just managed to brush my teeth on one leg.
Balance isn’t just about standing on one leg. Its about finding that sweet spot between your comfort zone and the next step. Its about challenging yourself and not forgetting your roots. Its learning how to relax when you’re always on the go. It’s letting go so you can move forward, but not forgetting so you don’t repeat the past. Its the ying and yang of the Universe. And once we realize this, standing on one leg becomes a whole lot easier.