As I leave the craziness of the holidays behind and move into the new year, my practiced is focused on balance on my yoga mat. Maybe it’s the need to shed the stress of the last year, or perhaps just a desire to get 2017 started in a positive matter, but every time I come to my mat, I find myself perched on one foot.
The yogis say that your balance on your mat is a reflection of the balance of your life–and I intend this year to have a bit more balance! So, in tree pose I will stand wherever I can-washing dishes, in line at the grocery store.
I think everyone can benefit from a balance check every so often. Certainly, balance can vary a little bit day to day, but just notice if you are suddenly falling out of poses that you normally don’t. It could mean you need check in with yourself and see if your life off the mat has gotten a little out of whack.
What I love about balance is that it’s an ever-changing effort. There is constant adjustment needed throughout the body. Balance is truly more difficult than it looks, because it’s not just ground your foot and float–it’s ground foot, engage the muscles, pull belly in, align joints, find your dristi, keep breathing. Pull all of this together, and you might just have a moment of calm embrace you, as the physical balance brings a sense of stability to your thoughts and emotions.
The best way to find your balance is to practice balancing poses regularly. They offer so many benefits–from helping develop concentration to strengthening muscles and building coordination. Balances call for a real mind-body connection as you move your body through space.
Try not to force your way into a balance. If you find yourself clenching the floor with your toes, see if you can soften and spread your foot. Sometimes, balance comes from just trying a little less.
If standing balances are regularly giving you trouble, consider taking a look at your daily life and see if there is something bigger throwing you off balance. But give yourself a break,! Try approaching balance with a sense of play, and see where that leads you.