Welcome to April!
By now, 2018 is in full-swing and most likely, whether it’s the increasing temperatures or one of life’s many difficulties, our balance has been challenged more than once. With so many forces tugging on us day in and day out, we continue to move forward (and backwards or sideways some days), always looking to move toward feeling centered.
The keyword here is “MOVE”. Balance rarely means being completely still, yet in our physical poses (asana), this is frequently the first thing we think. Often, we limit ourselves to seeing balance as “not falling over”. Gravity is just one force, but there are many more forces we can utilize to fully step into ourselves and into life.
Let’s look at some quintessential balancing poses and how all of this holds true: Tree Pose (Vrksasana) and Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana). At first, both poses are about becoming grounded, but then something beautiful happens: once we find basic stability, we can begin to play with our edges, we can begin to explore, to move, by deepening our balancing practice through movement. A tree with a backbend, a handstand with legs wide, for example. By playing with our balance and actively challenging ourselves, balance no longer is about holding still, but moving freely, confidently, in all directions. This holds true on and off the mat.
“Stefanie, how do I get to that point of balance,” you might ask? I have good news: as long as you continue to show up with curiosity and kindness, you are already doing it! Practice is the key to finding more fluidity and ease in balancing.
On a more personal note, I am turning 40 this month. As expected, the past 5 years brought their ups and downs. All of these have drawn me out of balance at one point or another, because that simply IS life. My continuing yoga practice on and off the mat invited me back into balance each and every time. I learned that my practice has to change and adjust to be the needed counterweight. Some days this means leaning in, some days this means backing off.
So for April, I invite you to look at balance more as a play with external and internal forces. The more we soften into this play and accept that it is a necessary part for life and growth and wellbeing, the more we are able to lean into our edges and outside of or comfort zone – which is truly where the fun begins.
If you are looking to explore your balance and learn new tools, check out our upcoming Healthy Balance Series, starting with yours truly on April 7th with an exploration of ‘Emotional Balance through Yoga.’ April 14, Heidi guides you ‘Out of Pain and Into Balance,’ utilizing the Science of Somatics. On April 21, Mary Beth will teach techniques in yoga, breath and acupressure in ‘Balancing the Chakras.’ April 28, Debbie will explore the alignment of Ayurvedic and Yoga teachings regarding balance and optimal health in ‘Movement toward Balance.’
See you on the mat!
Stefanie Sichler, Instructor
LPC, MC, E-RYT 200, YACEP