Guest Blog: Balance is not a destination

I learn something every single time I step onto my yoga mat.  Sometimes it’s an incredible new lesson.  Sometimes it’s simply a gentle reminder.  But it never fails and I always step off the mat more inspired and connected than when I started.  I’m guest blogging each month to share my latest lesson from the mat with Kristin’s community.

Lessons from the mat: Balance is not a destination

IMG_9330 You know that moment when you move into tree pose, the pose you could hold for hours, and you fall flat on your face?  You are caught so completely off guard because you never have trouble with tree.  It’s simple, after all.  So, what gives?

Balance is ever changing.  It’s here today and gone tomorrow.
Balance is not your destination.  It is your journey.

This is true on the mat and off.  Balance has become one of those words.  Something unattainable but so, so desired.  How many times have you heard “It’s all about balance.” uttered?  What does that even mean?  Is balance 5 cookies and an apple?  Or one yoga class and three cocktails?  50 hours in the office but one night off?

For most of my life I’ve been told that I have terrible balance.  In gymnastics class as a child I would always fall off the balance beam.  I was always tripping or bumping into things.  I lived with an “all or nothing” mentality.  I was a proud workaholic.  I was always on some fad (and extreme) diet.  I heard “You need more balance in your life.” almost daily.  Whether it was the trainer at the gym wanting me to spend crazy amounts of time on the bosu ball or a friend wanting me to “let go” and have more fun.  But no amount of time on the bosu or moments of joy could help me achieve balance.  Because the next moment I would be back to my starting place and left feeling completely unbalanced.

Yoga has been my greatest teacher when it comes to finding balance.  Yoga itself is all about balance: breathing, strength, cardio, and stretching.  It’s about the moments of flow followed by the moments of holding.  Balance is about knowing your limits in the moment and what you need.  It’s about listening to your inner voice and not the voice of your yoga instructor, coworkers, family, friends, or your own ego voice.  Balance is intuitive.  Your body and mind crave balance and are totally capable of reaching it without any interference from you.

Balance isn’t something that you can check of your to-do list and move on from.

You can effortlessly launch into tree today but tomorrow you’ll topple over.  Balance is about this moment.  And going with the flow.  When you try to force balance (on the mat and off) you often fall.  But when you stay fluid and open, you naturally find a state of balance.  It is never done.  And it not only looks differently from person to person but also from moment to moment.  There is no shortcut to balance or secret formula.  The journey is within and honoring where you are in this moment.  Sometimes warrior III just isn’t going to happen so you spend some quality time in warrior II instead.  And that true balance – honoring your needs.

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