Monday, September 26, 2011


Yoga literally means union. A fellow yogini reminded me that the linear world of either/or is not the path of Yoga. Yoga is the path of both/and. As practitioners, we are bringing together our light and dark, masculine and feminine, Yin and Yang. It is as important to embrace and honor the less appealing aspects of ourselves, as well as the strengths. We tend to mask the darker side of our nature, yet this is as potent and vital a part as the light within. The judge in me and the scorekeeper tries to stay safe by separating, however, I feel safest and most honest when I look for the similarities. When I notice myself particularly repellant to a certain behavior or person, I tend to try it on for size. For example, I dislike cat-callers so one day I howled out my window at a few people... and it felt amazing! I totally get why they do it. I remember being disgusted by some gum stuck under my seat at the movies. “Who does that?”, I thought. Then I decided to try it myself: “I do”. I have done neither of these actions more than once, but it was helpful to see the flip side of the coin.

In striving to unite my opposites, I find even more joy. There is really no joy without grief. There is no good or bad. We all possess polarities within us that demand integration. I feel that I am a blend of both my parents. I have my father's drive, but also his temper. I have my mother's humor and kindness, but also her defensiveness. How can I bring this blend together? I am here to completely accept and work with ALL aspects of myself. The more I can bring these qualities into the open, the more I am able to access their power. Yoga can help us to detach and watch both our dark and our light. Often when I am trying a posture, I feel that I want to give up, or I may judge myself for not being good enough, but then I also find this incredible strength and power when I stay with it and observe. The power of owning all of who I am, dark and light, brings me a sense of wholeness and Union and Balance.

Balance is two opposing forces extending in opposite directions. Balance is not static. We tend to think that balance is stillness, but the truth is that finding balance is being in constant flux. Balance poses require me to be one hundred percent present in the moment. When attempting a balance pose, notice that when you over think it, it doesn’t happen. Try to do Warrior 3 while you are thinking about what you need at the grocery store later. Energy flows where the mind goes, so if your mind is at the market, there is no attention to your pose. Imagine how this translates into the rest of your life.

Below are some guidelines to help you with these challenging poses:
  1. Gazing point
    They say when the gaze is still, the mind is still.
  2. Breath
    When you focus on your breath and the natural rhythm of your body, the mind begins to relax. The mind needs a focus point, so the breath can be a soothing solution.
  3. Extension
    Balance is largely about extension. There is a dynamic energy in balancing.
        Watch a sample of my Balance Challenge.

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