It's A Matter of Balance

with Tracey

Yoga aims to teach us balance. Asana and pranayama, for example, the two foundational pillars of a physical yoga practice, are part of the ha and the tha of it all. Asana being more physical and pranayama more etheric. Examples of polarities abound in yoga that serve to create balance while teaching us about the nature of balance.

In asana, we begin with the obvious poles of strength and flexibility. Although it looks like yoga leans towards flexibility, in truth, strength and flexibility need to be in balance in order for us to be in balance. When tuned into, we have upward and downward moving energy in our practice that brings us grace and lightness along with  groundedness. This also helps us tap into flow. There are internally inspired, intuitive practices juxtaposed with externally directed, prescribed sequences that can also lend balance to a personal practice. These are just a few areas where we hope refining the energy of opposites can assist in teaching balance on and off the mat.

Then there is the matter of the balancing poses themselves. The nature of these poses requires mind and body to work in tandem. These kinds of asanas demand lightness while staying solidly rooted. They require strength without rigidity. Balances teach us to have responsiveness to the slightest nuance. Poses in this category require being centered while simultaneously focusing on extensional energy. They teach us to relax while staying fully engaged using muscle contraction and release at the same time. Balancing poses express the dance of control and surrender perfectly.

Poses from which to ponder balance:

Standing Balances
tree pose
hero balance
half moon
twisting triangle

Seated Balances
seated boat
tip toe pose

Upper Body Balances
headstand with leg variations