Finding Balance with Yoga

The beginning of a new year can be a tempting time to place intention on setting new resolutions and behaviours – starting with a clean slate!
The inability to find balance in our life can be a precursor to many negative patterns appearing so it’s great to ‘nip them in the bud’ before they begin to rear their head. Then we give ourself the chance to stay buoyant both mentally and physically.
This is great reason to start a regular practice like yoga that keeps us connected with our feelings and our personal capacity.How does yoga give us inner stillness and balance?
Reflecting on the ancient teachings of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we come across a key message:

sthira sukham asanam –
the practice of yoga must have the dual qualities of alertness and relaxation

When we find this meeting place in our practice we are truly ‘in yoga.’

This idea expands beyond the physical asana we practice in class. The Yoga Sutras represent life in all its states. So this sutra is asking us to find a middle ground for our opposites – a place where we can experience life fully and with equanimity.
Just as a bird needs two wings to fly, we also need balance in order to tackle life successfully.

When sthira (steadiness, structure) is in excess we may have an inflexible attitude or the inability to see other points of view. We can become so set doing something a particular way that it causes us and those around us suffering when we are confronted with necessary change.
The opposite is too much sukham (ease, lightness). Perhaps we float through life without placing any effort or blaming others for our situation, never taking responsibility. Lack of perseverance.

The middle ground is where we find ease, steadiness and a quiet satisfaction with who we are. A little effort plus the ability to let go and receive.

How do we get to this middle ground?
Through quiet observation and attention. Forming clarity around our thoughts, just being without the need to ‘do’ or ‘force’. Spending time clearing the mind of clutter so that we can truly ‘know’ ourself.

Making a start is the key. I hope your yoga practice can allow you to spread your wings, create some balance and find joy as you launch into the new year.

Namaste, Jill.