I talk on and on about balance. If you did not know any better, you would probably think that I coined the term (I didn’t), or that I was some how being secretly funded by a business which has coined the term, and is thereby being paid a small sum each time I use the word (I’m not). Regardless, the notion of ‘balance’ is something I am very, very passionate about. That, and flexibility – but that’s another story for another time.
Regardless of my under-the-breath urges toward being ‘balanced’ in life, I’ve made little-to-no attempts to explain what exactly that means (to me), or how one could potentially begin balancing out their own life.
1. Dancer’s Pose your way through life
Imagine your self on a beach. The waves are rushing, creating a sound which captivates your mind and your body; the ocean wafts the smell of seaweed and salt, it’s crisp notes leaving you feeling refreshed and calm. Standing with your feet together, you breathe in deeply as you slowly raise your arm to the sky, simultaneously lifting your opposite leg to your seat. In a fluid motion, you catch your raised leg with the hand of the same side and begin to stretch your leg back as far as possible, lowered your torso, deeply, allowed your extended arm to become parallel to the earth’s surface. Soon, you find yourself at your edge; or better, in your happy spot. You stop, you take another deep breath in and you balance. Mind focused, heart open and body free.
Of all the poses in yoga, one of my all-time favorites is Dancer’s Pose (or, for those who want to be really yogi-savvy Natarajasana). Why? Not only does is look beautiful, it creates a platform to establish balance: between attempting that which is a challenge and accepting that which you cannot do.
Some people, when in dancer’s pose, need their hand on something. Perhaps a chair, or a wall. While, others need absolutely no support. Some, can only raise their leg to just under their bottom, while others have the ability to raise their leg well over their head. No matter the level in which an individual lay, the principle still remains the same. First, the pride of getting where you have, and second, the acceptance that you can only do what is well within your own ability; and furthermore, the peace-making one must do with that.
Alright. So, that was enough mat mumbo.
Every day you wake up, this fundamental principle of life should remain very much a factor in your life: noting what you have achieved and accepting what you’re only able to do what you’re able to do. This is not, however, to suggest that one does not strive to improve. Even in the scenario of Dancer’s Pose, one only does this pose regularly in their practice to improve upon it. The goal being to achieve better form, arrive to a deep variation, or – for some – strengthen their exterior. Much similarly, while accepting what you can do, there is no reason to become stagnant and refrain from further improvement. The key here is to not down yourself for what you can do at any given time. Instead, accept and embrace it, while also planning for furthering one’s self.
2. Submitting to the 80/20… or 70/30 ratio of happiness
OK, so maybe this isn’t an actual ratio, but humor me. Life, as I am currently learning, is not something that should be taken too serious. Of course there are situations that need to be take with maturity, but sometimes you just need to… for lack of a better term, laugh it off.
Three years ago, when I saw therapist numero duex, I was informed of this principle. For a whopping 70-80 per cent of your life, you should remain focused on being serious. Rather in your diet, your work, you family, etc. However for 20-30 per cent of your life, you should loosen up and have fun. Maybe for you this means cake on Sunday night, or one night of not caring about… anything. Who knows?
This is one area I’ve struggled with greatly. I lived 100% with everything and, in the event that I did not reach that 100%, I became both frustrated and… disappointed. In my school, I felt.. or feel (still working on it) that I needed to be number one. Even when I heard that I received that second highest mark on a Philosophy essay, instead of thinking ‘go me’, I thought ‘well, why wasn’t mind the top one?’, or in my exercise and food, when looking at other individual’s lifestyles and diets, I began to think: ‘they go without grains’ or ‘they workout and hour daily… sometimes more’ followed by a very forceful ‘I should too’. This is by no means a way to live. Perhaps the other person chose a topic they had more interested, thereby enhancing their prose; similarly, perhaps those active individuals are training for a marathon, or eat like a cow. Who knows?
Regardless, I am trying to now live on this 70/30 ratio (even more than the 80/20). How do I plan to do this?
Most days of the week I will eat healthy.
I will indulge in cake or sweets if they’re offer.
Most days of the week I will work out at a pace I am comfortable with (currently, keeping in mind my desire to reach my happy weight)
I will chillaxe should I not feel I want to work out moderately, or at all.
Most days of the week I’ll focus on my future and planning for success
I will let myself have a few days on nonsensical, childish joy. That means you mini put. That means you, too, air hockey.
Most days school assignments and tests I will do great on (because I know my abilities)
I will accept that not every grade will be an A, and some won’t even be a B.
This is just a small list of things I plan to balance in my life. I am sure I can think of more (and I am sure my family can think of even more), but for now this will suit.
All in all, life is not about the big accomplishments. Rather that be getting your dream job, or mastering a fully extended Dancer’s Pose. Instead, it’s about the lessons learned and the moments which lead you there. One thing yoga has taught me is to laugh at myself. Sometimes I fall right onto my rump. It’s embarrassing, but it happens. This is something I will work on bringing into off-mat life. Laughing, when I fall down, instead of beating myself up. Or worse, taking it out on others.
Balance, in life, is key.
So breath deep, and reach as far as you can.
I kicked serious rump on both the kids and adult trivia though.
Hello Ariel. I know what a dingle-hopper is. :)