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Y96: Hatha For Improving Balance By Establishing Your Center

balance core hatha yoga

In last week’s episode I shared how to address deep seated muscular imbalances.

In today's episode I share how balance is often misunderstood as needing to arrive at a perfect point between two opposites. As you know from any amount of life experience, things are constantly changing and moving. A core teaching of spiritual traditions is impermanence - you can never swim in the same river twice - you can never be in the same yoga pose twice - who you are now is vastly different than you were 10 years ago, or even just a year ago.

What we can find, however, is a sense of center between opposites. Imperfect. Changing. But somewhere towards the center. A place within that is not so effected by swaying left or right, not so easily taken off balance. Without a sense of an internal center everything from the weather to a challenging conversation to bad traffic can control your emotions, your thoughts and your behaviors - like a puppeteer controls a marionette.

The lesson of balance, however, is not about defiance, ego or putting up walls by becoming a control freak. This only creates more rigidity. Too much stirha, not enough sukha. Too much effort, not met with ease. We can play at the extremes. We can fall apart, be lazy, make mistakes and break all of our own rules. We can fortify those rules, follow them fervently and do nothing out of order. Ultimately this dance of yin and yang will repeat a million times in a million ways. Moving between these extremes.

In yoga philosophy we learn of purusha and prakriti. Spirit and matter. We become aware of this dance energetically in how we interact with ourselves, our practice, each other. We become aware of this dance physically in how we activate and deactivate, strengthen and stretch into progressively advanced postures.

Ultimately we become aware that we are neither just yin or yang, but the observer who decides when where and how to apply each, as needed. Sometimes the balance is tipped way off center. Sometimes, though, that’s the most effective way to return to center.

In next week’s episode I will put together the strengthening of last week and the centering of this week: specifically - strengthening the core to resolve low back pain. It’s hard to have a center when your back is in pain. Low back pain effects EIGHTY percent of people, and core strengthening is often a dreadful proposition. I’ll share ways I’ve found to work with the core that address the root of the issue, and are actually pretty fun to do (relatively…)

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Props recommended: 2 Blocks, 1 Blanket, Wall Space

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