Mindful awareness

Monday, April 18, 2011

Staying Balanced

We all are striving to balance something. Perhaps we are learning to balance our time to juggle all the demands required of maintaining relationships while achieving in our careers and caring for our children and/or parents as they need us.

Many of us are learning to manage our money so that we can strike the appropriate balance between saving for the future and spending for the present while we pay off debts from the past.

Some of us may be balancing our words so that we can offer criticism to employees while still relaying the fact that we appreciate what they do for us. Or we are trying to find that fine line between supporting someone in need yet maintaining our own protective boundaries.

Staying balanced may appear easier for some than for others. But no one of us has more time in a day than anyone else does. None of us has learned to grow money on trees. Each of us who cares about our relationships struggles with the way we communicate and support so we avoid misunderstandings. Those of us that seem to balance life’s challenges better than others know that to do so begins with a firm foundation in the form of friends, love, and integrity. But it also requires practice in focus and awareness. One result of this practice is learning to use the breath as a support. Think of the times you have had difficulty maintaining balance, managing your finances, or participating in a difficult conversation. You may have noticed that you were holding your breath. Holding the breath increases blood pressure and overall strain, perhaps making the situation even more difficult through this tension.

Yoga practice can help us learn to balance because on the mat we learn focus, awareness, and breath work that is required to maintain challenging poses as much as to manage life’s challenges. That is what my yoga students and I will be practicing this week. We will maintain balance and awareness in virabradrasana 2 (warrior 2 pose), checking to be sure we have equal weight on both feet and that our eye gaze remains steady over the front fingertips as our breath remains steady and long. We will work on arm balances like bakasana (crow pose) and adho mukha vrksasana (handstand). Sure, those poses require strength and flexibility, but no one will balance in these poses without focused awareness and timing the breath!

This blog and my yoga students will help me to “practice what I preach”. I am charging myself to remember to stay present and to keep breathing when I have that difficult conversation Friday morning with an employee…

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