Yoga: The key to balance and life…
By Tameera Kemp on June 26, 2012
If there’s one thing yoga taught me it’s this: balance is the key to a happy and healthy life.
I’m sure right now you’re going: Well, yeah, I already know that. Tell me something new. I know exactly we’re you’re coming from, because that statement is quite self-explanatory. Anything in excess is always bad for you, so life must always be lived in moderation, by striking a balance in everything you do.
My mind understands this concept, but it didn’t necessarily follow or lived up to it. In fact, it wasn’t until I started practicing yoga, that I really saw how balance played a part in improving my physical and mental health.
Physically, it’s easy to see why yoga is an exercise in balance. Even the uninitiated know an asana or two and won’t question the fact that in order to achieve such a pose, a balanced body is required. Whether you’re standing on one foot in a tree pose or fully stretched in a downward facing dog, you have to be able to balance yourself in order to maintain your position.
One needs to practice yoga personally in order to understand that to achieve balance physically, one must be aware of every part of the body. In order to put my body in the correct position and hold a pose, I need to be able to tell myself how to position my foot – should it be straight, or facing outward? Do I need to curl my toes or keep them flexed? Must I be on my heels or on the balls of my feet?
How far must my hands be from each other? Do I need to clip my elbows? Rotate my shoulders? Tuck in my tailbone? Awareness of the body helps achieve balance.
It is the same for me mentally. After a rigorous yoga session, my body is in such a balanced state that it is ready to sit in stillness and allow my mind to experience the balance my body has already achieved.
Similar to body awareness, a balanced mind must also be aware of its every thought, not so that you can chew on that thought endlessly – but an awareness of the noise that we clutter our minds with, allows us to identify each distraction and weed it away from our heads.
My constant practice of meditation has showed me that it is not all about controlling our thoughts, but it is a practice of transcending them. When I meditate I try to separate myself from my thoughts, I regard them from a distance, knowing they cannot affect me, and are projections of my ego, which is always trying to keep its manic control over my brain.
When I meditate, I am able to focus on the present, instead of endlessly reliving the past and constantly worrying about the future. The present, then, is the balanced state, and being constantly aware of the present allows us to live our lives fully, completely and blissfully attentive to all the many blessings we receive each and every second of our lives.
To me, there’s no better way to live than this – eternally grateful and thankful for every second I am alive and acknowledging that while the world can deal in harshness and cruelty, it also deals in an abundance of beauty and blessings. In my balanced state, I know I will be in a better position to experience and appreciate the latter.
How do you achieve balance in life?
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