Emotional balance and alignment are as important as physical balance and alignment.
Have you ever been blindsided? You are going through life with its ups and downs and something happens in an instant that forever changes your life or the way that you look at life. My daughter almost died at 14 months old and it brought a lot of clarity to what was and what wasn’t important really fast.
In yoga, we talk about awareness a lot. If you are in a yoga class, the focus is mostly on your body and alignment. Is your foot in the correct position? Is your wrist lined up under your elbow? Teachers are checking for these things to help students prevent injury. Yoga teachers will often encourage you to be aware of your body and listen to what it is telling you. Maybe you need to bend your knees and not have straight legs like most the class. Most of the yoga taught in the United States is asana based, which is the physical practice of moves and postures taught at yoga studios.
However, there is also the internal part of yoga. How aware are you of what your internal alignment is? How often do you practice internal balance? In yoga therapy school last year, I learned that the only way to increase your ability to physically balance is to practice balancing. The more you stand on one foot and balance the more you will be able to stand on one foot and balance. It’s a skill you learn over time with repetition. As you practice balance you are updating the map in your brain that tells you where you are in space. Can you apply some of these concepts to our internal world? The world of our mind, emotions and spirit? When we are emotionally blindsided, we are knocked off balance. Maybe we are even flat out on our face. Can we work on and develop skills to have balance in our internal life even when we are knocked over by its storms? It takes practice. It takes awareness. It takes times.
How do I put some of these things in practice in my own yoga practice? One way I practice balance is a morning routine or ritual. I get up before for sunrise and I have a quiet time in the predawn morning to practice pranayama (breathwork), meditation, self-reflection, and reading. I read scriptures and literature from Al-Anon. I read thoughts of the day from enneagram and the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. This is what I’m reading right now… What I’m reading might change over time and that’s ok. I feel more stable and grounded, less reactive and off balance when I do this on a daily basis. I spend time asking myself two questions my teacher Siva Mohan taught me, “where am I at?” and “what do I need?” I reflect in my journal on where I am at in my physical body, emotional body and mental body. I then write a gratitude list. I then right a list of “just for today” this is something I have learned in Al-Anon. Just for this day or this moment what intention can I set for myself.
Try it yourself today! An example might be:
Just for today…
I will choose kindness
I will not solve all my problems at once
I will be patient
I choose gratitude