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5 Balancing Life Lessons from the Yoga Mat

May 7, 2012

Often I’ll take requests before yoga class to see what people want to work on. Let me tell you what never ever has ever come up. Balancing! And yet, here we are in Spring Semester and the yogis have spoken! This semester’s theme is balancing poses.

Balancing poses come in all shapes and sizes.

There’s the very basic standing postures like high lunge which can be like standing on a balance beam.

High Lunge

There’s some more advanced standing balancing postures like half moon pose.

Half Moon

Some stuff on your hands and knees and then also some crazy an seemingly impossible things like scorpion (yes you can! practice practice practice)

Here are 5 tips for better balancing in yoga class and how take them Beyond the Mat.

1. Feel your foundation. Whatever it is you have on the floor (two feet, one foot, one hand & one foot, knees and elbows, hands, etc), focus your attention into that body part and spread fully down and throughout both muscularly and energetically.

2. Hug in to your center. Imagine a center line drawn through the body from your tail to your crown. Hug the muscles in towards this center line both on the front and back body and between the legs (as if you’re squeezing a soft beach ball between them).

3. Lift and radiate from your core. After rooting foundation and hugging in for structural support, radiate outwards from your center out through all the limbs. Imagine extending sun rays out through your arms and legs.

4. Gaze at a grounding source. Typically it helps to keep the gaze down at the solid, unmoving floor. Anyplace that provides a sense of steadiness.

5. Get back up when you fall. A natural part of coming up into a balancing pose, is falling out of it. That’s precisely how we learn. So make sure when you fall back down, you start again, fresh, and try your best to come back up when you feel ready.

So as you stroll along in life, and a strong wind comes by that wants to knock you off course, rattle your core, or take you down completely, take your lessons from the  yoga mat.

  • Connect to your foundation – what is that’s important to you? what do you believe in?
  • Hug in to your center – stand firm with your beliefs. Be confident that you know yourself best.
  • Radiate from your core – speak up and stand for what you believe in. Do what’s right for you and let it radiate out in all you do.
  • Keep your eyes on your destination – don’t look down, keep your chin up, your eyes on the prize and you will naturally follow the path toward your destination.
  • Let obstacles be your teachers – if you really got knocked down, be sure you get up, heal your wounds, learn something from your fall, and try again. With the new knowledge you gained, you’re much more likely to be successful the next time around.
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