On Balance

It is not the weight of things that matters. It is all about the balance within.

Unknown

I started beach yoga a couple of weeks ago. As my coworker might say, it wasn’t my first rodeo. I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for years. I’ve attended Pilates-yoga fusion classes and all levels and styles of yoga in the past. I like to think I’ve progressed from “beginner” to “more advanced.” It’s been about 2 years since I’ve practiced, and I’m 2 years older, so I’m not as limber or as fit as I was. The first two classes really did me in and muscles I’d forgotten existed reminded me they were alive and not happy, especially my core. It hurt to pull myself up from bed for 2 days after the second class, and as such I’ve only been to 4 classes. But even with just those few times, I saw a difference in my arm tone, my abs and midriff, and my legs. Just like my mind recalled the postures from downward facing dog and savasana to the salutations, my body seemed to remember how it was once stronger and more limber. As I crossed my legs while sitting on the beach this evening, I noticed how much more flexible I was already and it made me recall how good it felt to be in tune with my body.

The last class, my teacher said something that made me think. “Imbalance is where we find our center.” My first thought was “she meant to say balance.” But as I rested in child’s pose, I realized the power in what she said and that she had the phrasing right. For while I had always thought the goal was balance in my practice, the result, it was actually the struggle of being unbalanced, the flailing arms, unsteady legs, and unstable core that showed just how far out of synch my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states were that was the key. The delta between that perfect zen like state of where I wanted to be and just how far I needed to go to reach it. And just like my teacher said, today your body may be telling you to focus on this pain, this ache, this tension, these thoughts, those emotions. Yesterday it differed and tomorrow it would differ yet again. The path to find my center in my poses was unique each day but oddly familiar every time. My journey was filled with seeming structure made up of infinite variations. As I rose from my beach towel after performing the sun salutation under the sky deepening with oranges, reds, and pinks, I breathed in the salt air and exhaled with new awareness. My perception had shifted. And with that was a new awakening.

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