A Little Bit About Balancing in Yoga

Everything that we do on our mats is preparation for our life off of our mats. When we are on our mats, we are investing time in ourselves to get to know and better understand our true Self. When we do this, we can begin to recognise, and become familiar with our natural felt state of equibrilibrium and also have a better sense of when we have moved away from that state. When we check in at the beginning of our practice, we are observing all the different parts of the Self, just as it is, without judgement, criticism or blame. And we try to hold onto that process of observation (often described as focused awareness) throughout our practice. Regardless of whether we are practising pranayama (breathing), asana (postures), meditation or relaxation, we try to stay in the moment as much as we can. That is the practice of yoga.

Ardha Sirsana ~ Half Headstand

As we progress through yoga, we learn more and more about our Self, and we begin to take our practice off of our mat and incorporate it into our daily lives. We find we can use the understanding we gain about our Self on our mats, to help us in everyday life. Challenging situations may remind us of how it feels when we practice balancing on our mats. We wobble, and we try to re-centre ourselves. We wobble again and we refine our posture. We wobble again and fall out of the posture, and we wobble again, and again and again. And still we come back to the posture, until one day we find we are wobbling and yet still holding the posture. And on another day, we become still.

Mukta Hasta Ardha Sirsana ~ Half Tripod Headstand

And that stillness we experience in a balance is a tangible thing. We might feel, peaceful, victorious, strong all four, or any number of other emotions or physical sensations. Balancing on our mat takes patience, tolerance, determination, perseverance, self-compassion and self-awareness. Yoga balances require a strong core, a sense of self-belief and kindness towards the Self. We have to let go of our need to achieve, perfect or strive. We have to let go of attachment to the outcome.

Instead, we practice and observe, practice and observe and one day, we suddenly realise that we are are there exactly where we wanted to be. This can be said of so many situations off of our mats, when we might feel wobbly, out of sync or uncomfortable. In those kinds of situations, yoga teaches us to observe, and connect with those qualities and resources we have discovered through our practice. In this way we can mindfully focus on what needs to be done in order that we can return to equilibrium.

Head Stand Variation