Can you soften the buzzing in the mind and the bracing in the body to allow balance to joyfully lead versus be the destination? When we impose our own expectations, our own goals of perfection of balance and stillness, the balance inevitably falls apart. And yet, when we allow the breath to lead and the balance to ride in partnership, we not only find more core stability but also the ability to consciously adjust how our bodies react to increased stress. (And a beautiful secret is that the mind generally follows in ease and softness.)
Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt myself being pulled off balance. I don’t necessarily mean on my mat, although the body on the mat is brutally honest about the ease and flexibility of the mind as well. What I mean more so is that as life spins faster and we feel natural human aversion to change tugging our heels to stay back, it’s like we start flailing to stay upright at all. And on the mat, this can show itself as tipping over when on one leg or not even being balanced on our two legs.
Whatever is touching the mat at a given time, we have the choice to utilize all of those points for equal support. As we become more accustomed to distributing the shifting of our physical weight in a balanced manner, perhaps we can become more accustomed to being more accepting and smooth in our absorption of emotional shifts as well. It’s time well spent exploring. Check this out when you have a moment either waiting in line, brushing your teeth, washing dishes, or any of the other many moments you’re standing on two feet during the day.
- Stand on your two feet, arms gently by your sides and take three breaths here to settle in. Feel where your weight naturally is in the feet. If you were standing upon wet sand, how would the impression of your feet look in terms of where you’re deeper in the sand and where the impression isn’t as deep? Change nothing – simply notice what is there.
In this moment, I feel my weight more in the outer edge of my left foot and the inner edge of my right foot.
- Notice if the knees feel hard and straight. If so, find a gentle almost imperceptible bend to them. Now gently begin to bring equal weight into the left and right foot. Notice specifically the base of the big toe, the base of the pinkie toe and the center of the heel as they rest upon the earth. Can you get more balanced here without forcing or smooshing the toes down? What do you notice?
I can’t tell you what I notice because then you might try to notice the same thing instead of your own sensations. J Go ahead, you’ve got this one on your own.
- Start to shift your weight over toward the right foot continuing to feel those 3 points alive to the earth beneath you – base of big toe, base of pinkie, and center of the heel. The left foot is still on the floor but you could lift it at any moment if you wished to do so. Now smoothly return to center and pause. Feel the 3 points on both feet here in balance.
- Start to shift your weight over to the left foot. Feel the 3 points there and pause with this intentional imbalance – that is to say both feet are touching the floor but you are more to the left side. Then ride smoothly back to center and pause.
- Repeat this full cycle one more time in each direction ensuring that you find the pause in the center and that you remain with gentle attention in the 3 points of the feet. Arrive back in center. Take 3 settling breaths and notice if there is now anymore ease in your muscles and in your mind.
It can be intriguing to play with this balance exploration multiple times throughout the day. What can you start to notice about how your feet initially are absorbing the load of your body and how it shifts after the exploration? Is the experience different on different days or at different times of the day? Ponder, explore, and enjoy bowing to a state of balance.
Be well and breathe easy,