According to Dictionary.com Yoga is a 'union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle' or is 'any of the methods or disciplines prescribed, especially a series of postures and breathing exercises practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquility, etc.' I don't buy the "control" factor, but the word union and the pairing of mind and body are certainly words that resonate.
Balance is something I am constantly striving for. I'm sure most people are.
A while back I had one of those ZING! moments. I realized that it's all about finding a good balance. As we become adults it's all about finding balance between having fun and work. It's not something we would have been capable of as teenagers. We dutifully went to school and did our homework (well, some of us did and some of us didn't but that's neither here nor there), we played, we grew and we learned, but once you're an adult you have to be responsible for yourself. You have to pay bills and feed yourself and make sure that you treat yourself if you're sick or you do what you need to do to make sure you survive. Your parents are no longer responsible for your survival at this point.
As an adult we get older and go through challenging times where that perfect balance may be too difficult to achieve or maybe that part of us that wants to have fun outweighs the part of us that should be working. The older we get we aren't just balancing work and play, we are balancing a family, relationships, children; it's all about trying to balance everything out. If I kept going with a list of all the things we balance on a daily basis, my head would likely explode! But all that aside, I find that practicing yoga is helping me with my balance.
The balance is not just physical (balancing stick pose, half moon pose, eagle pose, the list goes on...) but mental as well. It can all be very Cartesian. My mind and body are connected, therefore I need something that unifies it ~ my breath! I asked my daughter tonight what she thought yoga was all about. "Doing deep breaths," she said. I was so proud. I know it's more than that, but there is something so basic and instinctual about breathing and it really is the core of yoga. When you get into other forms and styles, like Bikram, the breathing is less emphasized but you still need to know how to do it and stay balanced.
Today was class number 16! I'm more than half-way finished with my 30-Day Challenge at Indie Yoga. I am so proud of myself. Before now I was a once a week studio yoga person. I would occasionally use my yoga DVDs or do Zumba on the Wii but this was pushing my body far more than I ever have before. It's exhilarating and tiring (talk about balance, I fell asleep on the couch twice this week), yet oh so rewarding. I can feel a difference. I can also feel the muscles telling me to take it easy on certain days and not push too hard. Now that's finding a balance in body.
I just wonder, after these 30 days are over, how will I get my balance back?