Flexible or not, balancing poses are a challenge. And even after years of practice, there are still some days when I can’t seem to hold my balance to save my life. Those are the days I learn an awful lot about myself.
Balancing poses are a yogic gift. They are physical illustrations of your state of mind. To hold one’s balance, one must be present in the body… here and now, moment to moment. A wandering mind cluttered with thoughts and needless chatter cannot produce a body perfectly in balance. Balancing poses are the ultimate meditation in motion.
Balancing poses also bring our ego to the forefront, making us aware of how strongly it exists within us. Some students are so ruled by the ego, that they cannot bear to topple in front of others. They thus refuse to try balancing poses in a class setting. And even those who practice within the group may notice the ego respond in the form of small waves of embarrasment or self-aggression as they lose their balance. But this is not to say that the ego only arises when one is unable to hold a balancing pose. In fact, the ego surfaces in an even more potent manner when one is able to perform a pose ~sucessfully~.
At the point that you enter into the pose and are able to hold it for a moment, the ego rushes in bringing thoughts of ‘Look at me… no one else can do it… aren’t I good! . That’s usually the point at which you’ll topple. Why? Because the ego has taken over the mind. It has crumbled concentration on the moment, taken focus away from being present within yourself and placed it upon trying to impress an imaginary audience in the ego’s “Everyone’s Looking at Me” world.
Balancing poses also teach us how to relinquish our fears and experience life. When you’re used to standing with two feet firmly planted on the earth, relying on only one can seem quite scary. Sounds silly? It’s not. The fear of falling is a very ligitamate worry for some. Those with osteoperosis or brittle bones must take care with balancing poses. Certain poses require you to balance not on your feet, but on your hands, and the idea of toppling forward in that position can frighten many.
The first thing to know about balancing poses, is that there are always ‘baby steps’. Poses can be supported as you learn them. And as you’re ready to give up those supports, learning how to fall is important. The fear of falling itself makes the fall uncomfortable, but if you understand how to let go it’s actually a whole lot of fun. Such is the rule of life.
The Yogic Way
Kavita Maharaj is the owner and operator of Red Door Yoga. She can be reached at 604-751-1458 or go to reddooryogacanada.com for questions.