So spring has sprung! We’ve just past the Spring Equinox, so it’s officially spring The two equinoxes – in spring and autumn – mark a perfect point of balance in the year: when day and night are equal.
So it’s a good time to reflect on whether we have a sense of balance in all aspects of our lives. And as trees, flowers and plant-life everywhere are springing into action all around us, it’s also a wonderful time of the year to think about our own growth and how we can make positive change in our lives.
So here’s some yogic inspiration to get you thinking…
How balanced are you?
It’s good, every now and then, to step back and take a look at ourselves and our lives and honestly appraise different aspects to consider whether we need to rebalance them.
The following are a good place to start and represent a wide range of issues and relate to each of the major energy centres we work with in yoga.
Rate each of these areas on a scale of 1-10: where 1 means you’re completely lacking in this area, 5 is OK but room for improvement, and 10 means completely fulfilled in this area.
This will give you a sense of where you need to bring balance into your life.
A sense of security.
Do you feel financially comfortable and have an easy relationship with money? Do you let money slip through your fingers too easily or do you feel like you have to hold onto it for fear of losing it?
Do you often feel afraid or anxious for no apparent reason? What is it you’re fundamentally scared of? It could be worth probing deeper.
Healthy emotions and relationships.
Do you feel certain negative emotions dominate others and push and pull you around in life? E.g. Anger, or sadness, or frustration? Recognising this is the first step to releasing their grip.
How are your relationships with your family and close friends? To what extent are they supportive or to what extent do they drain your energy? What steps can you take to address any issues?
Do you feel you have enough energy or do you very easily get tired? Do you find you can achieve what you set your mind to or are you easily knocked off course? What knocks you off course?
Or do you have so much energy you whizz around all day never allowing yourself to stop and breathe?
Sense of self-worth.
Do you like yourself? Do you look after yourself? Can you see and appreciate the positives about yourself or do you easily criticize and knock yourself down?
Ability to communicate.
Do you speak up to articulate your needs / thoughts / opinions easily or do you swallow them back?
Or do you find yourself shouting others down, not listening to what they have to say?
Purpose in life.
Do you have a purpose in life? Do you feel you know what you’re on this earth to do and are either doing it, or taking steps to enable you to do it?
Or do you feel that life is dragging you along and you have no power to change course?
A sense of connection.
Do you feel connected to others, to humanity, to nature, to something outside yourself, to the universe, to a faith or spirituality?
Whatever connection means to you (something which enables you to appreciate a bigger picture outside your own experience): do you feel this is something you have in your life?
Re-dressing the balance
So this will have given you a sense of how balanced many aspects of your life are and what areas you might benefit from addressing.
But whatever you’ve come up with first things first: be gentle and don’t judge yourself! Breathe and let it be OK. Congratulate yourself for having the courage to be honest with yourself.
Many people live their lives blissfully unaware of their lack of balance … until illness or grief stops them in their tracks.
This can be quite a deep exercise, so if you feel you have some big issues which need to be addressed, or if you’ve experienced physical or emotional trauma, then you may wish to explore counselling or therapies such as hypnotherapy, cranio-sacral therapy or emotional freedom technique, to begin the process of release from your body and mind.
But, of course, yoga can very much help us bring balance to our mind, body and emotions.
The yoga remedy
You are an individual with your own unique body, mind and life experience, so there is not one-size-fits-all answer to address imbalance. However, here are some general approachces on how to bring balance into each of the areas we looked at above.
- A sense of security. Grounding movements such as Mountain Pose, the Earth Sequence and Warriors can help us to connect to the earth and a sense of being fundamentally supported at all times.
- AFFIRM: I am safe and supported. All is well.
- Healthy emotions and relationships. Forward bends, or restful poses such as Crocodile can help us to calm our emotions and let go of attachments.
- AFFIRM: The past has no power over me. I am free.
- Energy levels. Twists such as Sitting Spinal Twist or Rotated Triangle boost our energy; and sequences such as the Sun Sequence or the Dru Power Sequence give us fantastic vitality and a sense of determination.
- AFFIRM: I am full of energy and achieve my goals.
- Sense of self-worth. Dru Energy Block Release (EBR) sequences allow us to release negative energy from our body and mind, in particular EBR3 gently activates our heart energy centre, promoting feelings of compassion and joy. Back bends, such as Cobra and Camel, release tension from our chest and allow us to breathe easily, removing grief and restrictions from our lungs and around our heart centre. Humming Bee breath (Brahmari) focuses our attention on our heart.
- AFFIRM: I am perfect just as I am.
- Ability to communicate. Bridge and Fish postures activate our throat energy centre; chanting mantra (e.g. OM) enables us to clear restrictions from our throat, encouraging clear communication.
- AFFIRM: I communicate clearly and choose my words well.
- Purpose in life. Tree posture brings a sense of flow, focus and purpose into body and mind. Meditation enables us to calm and clear our mind so we can connect to our inner guidance and hear our life’s purpose.
- AFFIRM: My life is unfolding perfectly.
- A sense of connection. Meditation, simply being out in nature, or giving ourselves time and space to do an activity in which we find a sense of flow, helps us to connect to a sense of a bigger picture and also gives us a feeling that we are deeply connected to all other living things.
- AFFIRM: I am connected. Om Shanti: Peace, Peace, Peace.
You ARE worth it
There’s something about committing to your own self care by making time to attend yoga class and/or practice at home which gives ourselves a message on a deep level that yes, we are good enough, we are worth it and yes, life is good!
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I’m Stella Tomlinson and I teach slow, flowing Dru yoga in Southampton & Eastleigh (Hampshire, UK) to improve posture, flexibility, spinal health … and to help people to bring balance into their lives.
Dru yoga is characterised by graceful movements, directed breathing, relaxation techniques and working with affirmations and visualisations.