Go hold a tree pose for 10 breaths. What do you feel? You’re wavering quite a bit; your ankles are quivering, your hips sway a bit side-to-side, you may even notice your whole body moves front-to-back. The illusion is that you are standing steady and perfectly balanced, but you’re actually just constantly working toward balance, making adjustments as you go.
Many health & wellness companies market balance. They tell you it’s possible to design a diet, a job or a life that gives you a sustainable balance in the long run. It’s not. The best you can hope for is a constant movement toward balance, frequent readjustment, and a sense of humor when you fall over entirely.
Hollis is learning to walk, and her learning is greatly hindered by the fact that she’s terrified of losing her balance and falling. She’ll stand in place for minutes at a time, reaching and reaching for something she wants, then eventually give up and sit down. If she’d simply decided to fall a few times, she would have been walking months ago. Shes 14-months-old, so I cut her some slack. She’s got to move at her own pace, and she’ll learn to catch herself when she’s ready.
You may also need to move at your own pace as you embrace what Buddhists call “the groundlessness” of life. This concept simply means that any stability, any balance, any constancy, are actually just illusions we trick ourselves into believing.
We aren’t going to sell you balance. I won’t tell you that making it to yoga 3 times a week will suddenly bring your life into a state of permanency. It will help, I can tell you that much, because yoga is an excellent time for the self-reflection needed to make adjustments toward balance. As you improve your awareness, you can make microadjustments regularly instead of requiring macroadjustments every few months or few years. But, just making it to yoga 3 times a week can be a tough thing to balance.
If you’re feeling like you’re not as balanced as the gorgeous people on your Instagram feed tell you you should be, don’t judge yourself too harshly. Just start with one small adjustment, and do the same again and again.
(Image by Meagan Kathleen Photography)