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Balancing the Scales

Hello Yogi, As I’m sure you’re aware of, we talk a lot about balance here. Why? Because it’s everything. Truly. Life is very much like riding a bike, driving a car, struggling in Tree Pose. You veer one way, forcing yourself to swerve in the opposite direction, in order to return to center. Often, to find balance we must first be thrown off of it. On our mats, when you’re in a balancing asana/pose and you begin to stumble, instead of thinking “Damn, I suck at this” replace your mindset with thinking “Hells yeah, an opportunity to regain my balance.” I know this may seem silly… but that’s exactly what’s happening. Your fast twitch, stabilizer muscles are asked to take action. They are forced to spring to life to keep you upright. In doing so, they adapt, become stronger, tougher - but only after this wake up call. Yes, the way we live our lives is very much a journey of stumbling, falling, veering in opposing directions, returning to center. You know what makes balancing so much more attainable? Having a drishti, a focal point. On the mat, instead of looking at your hand, foot or whatever’s supporting you; instead of looking at multiple spots in the distance; by bringing your awareness to a single focal point, balance organically unfolds into stability. This is the basis of mindfulness. This one pointed awareness that anchors us into the present. Yes, life is often the balancing of opposites, but the central point on the scale, the one that determines if these opposites equal each other out, the place of equilibrium - is the present moment. On my trip out west, I stumbled, fell, had to swerve, change directions and adapt plans many times. After a 6 hour drive from Sedona to Joshua Tree, I was tired, exhausted, frustrated because it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I almost skipped visiting the dying trees because I had another 8 hour drive to San Francisco, my next destination. I was so focused on the treacherous journey it took to get there, the long drive ahead of me, and the disappointment in what I was expecting, that I almost missed it. I almost missed out on what was before me. This awareness allowed me to regroup, refocus, recenter. I took a deep breath (alright, SEVERAL deep breaths) and dropped in to the experience before me. It was heavy, kinda sad, eerie, and beautiful! Joshua Tree is like The Flintstones meets Dr. Seuss. The giant, porous rocks make you feel small, aware that your time on Earth is short in their comparison. Until you climb on top of one, which is really easy to do. You stand there on them, with them, a part of them…connected. You look at the vast landscape before you and realize that your tininess is actually a huge, important piece of the puzzle. You look at the Joshua Trees and can sense their demise. But instead of a depressing sadness, it’s a glorious one. Because, you sense the life that’s still there. The life they carry, the life the experienced, the life they'll pass on. This phenomenon is perplexing because trees are not supposed to die naturally. They are the only living thing that continues to grow during the duration of their life span, that is unless an external force outside of themselves breaks through their bark. The craziest part is that it feels as if these Joshua Trees are embracing death - maybe because they truly lived. Recently, I was talking with a friend, who read somewhere that what people on their deathbeds regret most, is that they didn’t live true to who they were. This authentic, true to self voice is within all of us. It tells you of your purpose, your gifts, your strengths. This is your centering point, your internal drishti, the North Star of your compass. This is the whisper in your breath, reminding you to return home to the present. How can we practice this return when we stumble? On our mats, with our breath. You can not breathe in the past, nor in the future you can only breathe in the present moment. Everything we do affects our breath Run - it speeds up Sleep - it slows down Everything we feel affects our breath Anger, excitement, frustration, love - speeds it up Peace, presence, calm, tranquility - slows it down By this truth, it’s safe to assume that by becoming aware of our breath, we become aware of our experiences. And by controlling our breath, we control our REACTION to our temporary experiences. Day by day Moment by moment Breath by breath This is your precious life. Through the stumbles, the falls, the balancing, the returning, the temporary nature of everything - don’t be afraid to live it, Nicole. And if you are, that’s ok too. You can be afraid and brave at the same time…balance. Just don't allow the temporary feelings of fear, worry or doubt to turn the voice within that's begging to say "Yes!" into a "No." Stillness, Awareness, Wellness, Nicole


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