When I teach yoga, I often say to my class that balance isn’t something we find and get to keep, it’s something that is fluid that we experience for brief moments in our bodies and in our lives.
This last month has been so much about finding balance for me in both my body and my life. In a very short time last year I gained 25 pounds and being in the fitness industry, as I got heavier, some days I felt like I was walking in to teach my class naked. I felt so exposed and raw because I couldn’t hide that I was going through something that was changing me, not only on the inside but on the outside.
I am also a huge believer that stress is one of the biggest contributors to hormone imbalance, inflammation and disease, so I hate to say it, but I wasn’t surprised when I was diagnosed with cancer last September. I knew something was seriously wrong. I was working way too much and under an extreme amount of emotional and physical stress. But…being me, I thought that if I just worked harder, I would make progress and things would get better. It broke my heart when I realized that working harder was literally the opposite of the right answer because I truly had faith that I was doing the right thing. Live and learn.
So, here I am, looking for balance in my practice – it’s never been so hard to hold inversions! – and looking for balance in my life. Who’s with me? Probably everyone I know. Balance is fleeting and I don’t think it’s something we get to have, but it’s an intention. If you love to get upside down like I do, you might relate to that feeling of lightness when everything in your body is perfectly stacked and the pose seems effortless. Or in life when things seem to flow and everything lines up to support whatever comes next.
Recently I had the privilege of seeing Sadie Lincoln speak, the creator of Barre 3. She brought up an amazing point. Maybe it’s better to recognize the imbalance, than to try to look for balance, because then we can at least know that we need to make a change.
What I have learned is that balance isn’t something you look for, or work for. You can work your fingers to the bone and balance will just be watching you and probably giggling a bit, waiting for you to realize your error. It’s something you will feel when you are doing what you are meant to do, setting clear and healthy boundaries and speaking from your heart. It’s something that visits occasionally to tell us we are on the right path, but it won’t stay…what would be the fun in that?
So, my advice? Next time you are looking for balance, stop looking, stop working and hold still. Take a few deep breaths and listen to your intuition. Only you know how to be open to balance. Deep inside there is a voice that will help you open that door. Then, move with intention, slow, steady and calm. Don’t be afraid of imbalance but recognize it and allow it to lead you back to your center, whether you are on the mat OR weaving your way through this beautiful journey called life.