Last week we worked on balance, literally trying not to fall down, whether we were on our toes, one foot, or one knee, standing or kneeling, upright or tipped over. Being able to do those things reasonably well is critical to our physical well-being.
But that’s not the only type of balance that is vital. According to Merriam Webster, another definition is, “a state in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts or have an equal or proper amount of importance.”
Many people think of Yoga as just an exercise to maintain or acquire flexibility. Flexibility, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.
A balanced practice must include the five directions of movement of the spine – axial extensions, forward bending, backward bending, twists, and laterals. In addition to the Aana – movement, Pranayama – breathwork, and Meditation – relaxation and inner exploration, must also be included. These last two components are what separate Yoga from exercise. As one of my teachers is fond of saying, “Asana is necessary, but not important”.
Does having the perfect ‘Yoga butt’ make your soul happy? Personally I will never know, but I’m pretty sure the answer is negative. Bringing balance to the mind, and spirit goes well beyond the mat and can be challenging in this day and age. The deeper work comes with applying your Yoga practice to your life to create an inner awareness and a joyful soul, in order to more fully live a purposeful life, no matter what is going on around you.
In our Yoga classes we learn the tools of different breathing techniques and mindful movement which can go a long way in calming the spirit, allowing for optimal peace of mind, with the added bonus of a flexible, pain free body!