About fifteen years ago, I started doing yoga in my living room. I started when I was overweight and incredibly inflexible, but after a few years I got the hang of it. I still try to incorporate some yoga into my schedule a few times a week.
A few weeks ago, I was in tree pose and I made a connection that I think would be valuable for all of us. If you want to play along at home, you can try tree pose right now. It’ll make my point in a way that words alone can’t.
Basically, you’re going to balance on one leg, and the other is going to bend into it. If you do the full expression of the pose, your opposite foot will basically go into your leg high up on your thigh. But that’s not necessary. You can prop it on your thigh, your shin, or even just next to your foot on the floor.
When you are balanced, you think of it as a static process. You are standing still on one leg, right?
Standing Still Requires Movement
But pay attention to what’s happening in your standing leg: What’s going on in your foot, in your shin, in your thigh, and throughout your body? Your muscles are constantly flexing, shifting, and relaxing as you sway back and forth. For example, I tend to rest of the outer edge of my foot and when I pay attention, I shift back to the ball of my foot and my big toe. But when I do that, I have to shift what the muscles are doing in my inner thigh. If I don’t I’ll over-compensate and fall over (I know because I’ve fallen ass-first a few times).
It’s only when you get rigid that you get stuck and are in danger of falling
So what looks balanced from afar is a constantly shifting ecosystem that keeps you upright.
Let’s extrapolate. Do you think that you have to be “balanced” in the same way every day, week, or month? In fact, balance comes from shifting to face the needs that arise in our lives. You don’t need to create a static approach to your activities, your attention, and your energy. It can be dynamic and change… and still be balanced. One week you might have to work more to get a project done, you might exercise more, or spend more time with a family member who needs support. Your focus shifts, changes, and evolves.
Some people talk about work/life integration or harmony instead of balance. And that might be a good approach. How will you flow this week?