Balancing is a Continuous Practice: Yoga & Balance

Refreshing Moment After Moment

When we balance, we align our body’s center of gravity with the earth’s gravitational field. Quite literally, we place ourselves in physical equilibrium with a fundamental force of nature. But we can’t achieve this harmony by remaining absolutely still. Instead, we must refresh our balance moment after moment. The sustained effort to center and recenter, when successful, brings not only our flesh and bones into balance but also our nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and very consciousness. Hence, we feel calm. Equilibrium brings equanimity. Lack of equilibrium brings just the opposite. There is something uniquely frustrating about losing our balance in one-legged postures. It goes beyond the instinctive fear of falling and strikes directly at the ego.  – Roger Cole

Flowing & Adapting

The noted biologist John Kricher … tells us there “is no balance of nature  –  not today and not at any time in Earth’s long history. The paradigm is based on belief, not data; it has no scientific merit.” … Which brings me to a more recent yoga class… I was in the midst of tree pose… Losing my focus, I started to topple out of the pose… My first inclination was to lock in my position, which is to say tighten all my muscles for fear of falling… Instead of “freezing,” I relaxed my muscles and felt my body absorb the disequilibrium, which — surprise — allowed me to remain standing tall. Later, Ms. Piver elaborated on what had happened to me: “Balance is not so much striking or holding the pose, but flowing with the movements that affect your pose. The more quickly you can respond and make those adjustments – that’s balance. Balance comes from adapting quickly.” – Steven Petrow