When we hear the word balance most of us think of physical balance but there is an inner balance that our practice gives us that is even more profound.
As we get older, it's even more important to maintain and improve balance. Balancing poses also put us in a situation where we have to constantly shift and adjust and repose to maintain both physical and inner balance. This is good training for when our lives go topsy turvy.
Depending on your personality, culture, life’s condition or age, our ability to be flexible with external situations can be challenging. Consider listening to someone with a very different experience than yourself, maybe one that is difficult to understand or hear? There is a certain level of flexibility required to set aside your perception and experience to hear another’s.
All of us have physical imbalances, one side is stronger and the other is weaker, one hip is higher and the other is lower, one part of the leg is more alert and the other is dull. Our practice gives us the opportunity to know them, work with them and cultivate evenness and equilibrium.
In BKS Iyengar’s Light on Life, he offers this fact “…as mammals we are homeostatic. That means we maintain constant balances in our bodies temperature, for example by adapting to change and challenge in the environment…” We are naturally flexible to maintain this inner balance. If there is a huge emotional upheaval in life such as a loss or uncertainty and if there is a balance and “energetic osmosis between you and the outer world, you will adapt and survive..”
In our practice we cultivate evenness, integration and harmony in the body that penetrates to the inner layers of our being and when this happens, “there is immediately a beginning to harmony and integration with the world we live in.” A very honorable goal indeed..
Balance is the state of being in the present - you aren’t in the future or the past but in the here and now.
BKS Iyengar Light on Yoga pages 25-26, 42-44
Use your intelligence, your feeling to sense even effort on the right and the left side. Which side is working harder? Wouldn’t you want to help a friend who wasn’t quite getting it or struggling? Treat your body with the same compassion.
Divide yourself into parts- right and left, front and back, arms and limbs, top and bottom Where do you overdo? Underdo? Create equal stretch.
Work from the base of your posture- is it even? Where do you put your weight. Standing poses teach us and helps us have more stability to weather the upheavals in life that will occur.
Find the median line and expand and spread evenly horizontally and vertically “ Vertical ascending is the future, vertical descending is the past and horizontal is the present. When you open horizontally , future and past meet in the present.”
Try it with balance poses such as Vrksasana, Ardha Chandrasana or Virabhadrasana 3