Shifting Our Equilibrium

“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” – Jason Crandell

Meditations in Motion

I have been doing a lot of yoga lately. Yoga is a good combination of fitness and practice in quieting the mind for rumination, kind of like long-distance running on a mat. It’s the perfect workout to do while traveling (also like running), which is good since I have not been home for a week.

My fitness goal for the yoga sessions is to loosen up my hips. I load up a 5 Parks Yoga video on my laptop, find a quiet space in a secluded room, and begin by inhaling and exhaling, Ujjayi-style.

5 Parks yoga is wonderful. It is free, first of all, a big plus. I can select a video with the focus I need (hips) and the length of time I am willing to spend (not more than 45 minutes). The instructor is very good; she suggests modifications for most of the poses, which I need. I am first and foremost a runner, which means my muscles are pretty tight and inflexible.

Meditations in Motion

Do you see how the yogi in the picture above has her forehead touching her knees and her legs straight? I would be lucky if I could sit with my legs and torso at a 90-degree angle in the same position. Not supple at all. But I’m working on it.

I tried a new video yesterday. In addition to the hip-opening poses I was expecting, there were also some balance poses thrown in for good measure. In addition to not being very limber, I am also terrible at balancing on one leg. This is why yoga is so good for me; it is a humbling experience.

Meditations in Motion

When I used to take yoga classes, no one wanted to put their mat next to mine. Falling out of the balance poses is contagious, kind of like yawning. During the balance poses, I would begin to wobble, flail my arms, and put one foot on the floor to steady myself, before finally losing the battle and having to restart the pose. It was like a ripple effect, soon most of the other yogis near me would be afflicted in the same way. One friend told me she actually had to close her eyes to do yoga with me.

The yoga session reminded me that I am committed to focus on balance this year. I have been procrastinating writing about balance because, well, just like balancing poses are not my preference in yoga, balance is also not my favorite topic to ponder.

Maybe it was not a coincidence that the yoga video I chose to do contained a stealth balancing sequence along with the hip openers. I wobbled my way through the poses, then thought about balance as I relaxed in savasana.

Meditations in Motion

I mulled over a (written) conversation I had recently with the wonderful blogger Love Will Bring Us Together. Because my background is in chemistry, when I think of balance, I think of equilibrium. How many of you remember balancing chemical equations from high school chemistry? I am sure most of you do. (Ha!)

A   +   B —>  C

The equation above represents chemical A combining with chemical B to produce chemical C.

What you may or may not have learned in high school chemistry is that, at equilibrium, the reverse reaction is happening at the same rate as the forward reaction. In other words,

C —>  A   +   B

C is breaking down to form A and B at the same rate as A is combining with B to form C. The individual atoms are in a constant state of flux but the net result is zilch, zip, nada. The overall outcome is that, at equilibrium, the amount of each chemical remains unchanged. The equilibrium can be shifted, however, upon the addition of an outside stress such as heat, pressure, or a change in concentration of one of the chemicals.

Why is this important?” you may ask. It’s important because my hubby recently retired. Let me explain.

Meditations in Motion

Every change that happens in our lives shifts our equilibrium a little bit. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A new baby arrives and we must learn to live with little sleep, less time for ourselves, and a precious new little person to give our hearts to and care for. Initially, our lives undergo a huge upheaval, but eventually, the new way of living becomes our normal.

A loved one dies and we must learn to close up the hole left by their absence. It doesn’t mean we will stop missing that person, but we must figure out a new way to live our lives without that loved one being physically present.

Our children grow up and get married. We must learn to let go of them a little bit; their priority is now their own family. But we gain a whole new branch on our family tree. More people to celebrate with and love. A new concept of what constitutes “family” to us.

Each one of these changes means a shift in the equilibrium of our lives.

Retirement represents a sizeable shift in our equilibrium. We help to define ourselves by our profession. For years, telling people “I’m a teacher” told them who I was. Oh, it didn’t say everything about me, of course. I was more than my profession, but it was a big part of my identity.

After I retired, I had to figure out my own new equilibrium. I ran more often, I went to Body Pump and yoga classes, I began blogging, I saw my grandchildren more. It’s a different equilibrium than when I was working, but it’s one I like very much. My new equilibrium didn’t happen overnight. I had to live my way into it.

Now, with Hubby’s retirement, our equilibrium is shifting again. I think we will travel, visit family more frequently, have some adventures, but who knows? We will have to learn how to regain our balance. Presently, we are still a little bit like me in the yoga class, flailing our arms and wobbly on our feet.

That doesn’t mean, however, that life will always be this way. We will find our way into a new steadiness and strength, a new normal. We have each other to lean on for support. We will find our new equilibrium.

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9

I am linking up with Shank You Very Much for Dream Team and Global Blogging, Mary-andering Creatively for LMM, Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun, Hooks and Dragons for Mix It Up, Purposeful Faith for RaRa link up, Abounding Grace for Gracefull Tuesday, Mary Geisen Tell His Story, Meghan Weyerbacher for Tea and Word, Bethere2day for Wordless Wednesday on a Tuesday, Deb’s Random Writings for Keeping It Real, and My Random Musings for Anything Goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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79 comments

  1. Ha ha. When I read about your experience with yoga it sounded like I was writing it.

    All the same issues. I may try this. At least it’s free.

    We all need balance. And we have to change with the times as they say.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a forever beginner at Yoga, but even the basic classes I go to are more than helpful. It would be a good thing for me to do my own home practice with a good teacher ….thanks for the nudge and the website to look at! (Balance has always been my downfall …no pun intended … and it is of course ever more important the older I get).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi – I had to pop over after you left a comment on my post. Lovely to meet you and I’m going to check out the Five Parks Yoga – I keep telling myself that I’ll do yoga one day (I’m doing tai chi as my compromise atm) I’m also envious that you’re both retired and as you re-calibrate life, it will only get better and better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for visiting! Lovely to meet you as well. I sometimes take a class at our local rec center that is a combination of yoga, tai chi, and pilates. I love it and would like to look into doing more tai chi.

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  4. Nicely put! And thanks for the reminder on chemical equilibrium (at Standard Temperature and Pressure!) 😉

    For quite some time now i had been considering equilibrium in terms of motion of particles more than chemical or mental ( life ) equilibrium, but of course it applies to a great number of cases… and means or equates with ‘balance’. 😉

    Happy new equilibrium! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You totally will find your new equilibrium… I have no doubt.
    I wish I enjoyed yoga. It just feels so wasteful of time to me – I think its my Jane Fonda days in my brain. But I can tell I NEED yoga – I’m getting stiffer & stiffer & its harder to lean over & touch my toes. I hate that.

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  6. I love the vision of you wobbling in a yoga class and creating a ripple effect! I’m not good at balancing on one foot either.

    I like your thoughts on equilibrium. I’ve been through the arrival of two babies, the loss of a husband, the finding of a new partner and his children. Each time it’s taken a while to find our balance. I’m now at a new stage, with my children in school and it’s taking me a while to adjust to what my new role might be. I think your explanation is perfect. Thank you. #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my goodness, Debbie. You certainly have had a lot of challenges to your equilibrium. My condolences on the loss of your husband. I think in my case patience is needed to let the changes be what they will be. Thank you for your comment!

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  7. Love this yoga link and the chemistry reference. I’m slogging through chemistry with my son at the dining room table, me in awe, him in shackles . . . Hopefully he will remember enough to be in awe someday.

    I completely identify with the equilibrium challenge. I have kids coming and going all the time, never knowing how many plates to set on the table. I think we have the idea that when our kids are tiny we are experiencing high voltage parenting, but my recent experiences are making me question that. These are delightful years, but also unsettling.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I can just picture you and your son. He will appreciate it when he is older. Maybe much older! 🙂

      Yes, it is fun to have the children and grandchildren for visits, but having dinner with just hubby is also very nice. More relaxing!

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  8. I love the way you express this: “. . . you have to live your way into it.” I am a huge fan of yoga and practice every day, although only for about 20 minutes so I also have time to meditate in the AM before I get ready for work. I figure I need all the equilibrium I can get to deal appropriately and compassionately with middle schoolers! And I do like Five Parks Yoga — and I would also recommend, if you haven’t explored them, Yoga with Adrienne, Yoga with Sara Beth, and Do Yoga With Me. And if you’re feeling pretty brave, the lovely Lesley Fightmaster will have you flowing and sweating in no time 🙂 — and ALL for free!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s great that you’re practicing yoga, Laurie. I find it helps me both mentally and physically. You and your husband will find your new equilibrium and hopefully enjoy every minute of your retirement.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love how you liken the time it takes to find our balance when doing a new pose in yoga to the time it takes to find our balance when we’re adjusting to a significant change in life. It’s true, it does take time to regain that equilibrium and find the right balance in our new situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Some excellent thoughts about balance – physical and emotional! Very true about changes in life. It often takes a while to find the new balance, but you will get there! Sounds like you have some lovely plans for working your way to your new family balance 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wise words – I’m struck by the phrase of “learning to live with the hole” after someone dies. My family is in the process of doing that. My sweet brother-in-law died last August 2 weeks after his 50th anniversary with my sister. This has left a huge hole in our family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your very kind comment, Kate. I sometimes “forget” yoga for months at a time, but when I do it, I always feel wonderful afterward. Glad to read about your newfound balance.

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  13. I have also tried yoga and I am not very graceful. I also cannot do yoga due to some back issues. I like the connection to equilibrium and the story of retiring. I can wrap my brain around that. I retired three years ago from teaching and found that i was very off balance. It took a long time to separate my true identity from what my career said about me. Great perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Mary, no one watching me do yoga would ever think of the word “graceful”! 🙂 So sorry to read about your back issues. I think teaching becomes so much a part of our identity. We do have to “unwrap” from our profession and that takes time. Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Laurie – I took yoga and pilates at the community center here several years ago. I signed up for twice a week and it was called “beginner yoga” … on the first night, I quickly discovered everyone in the class, maybe a dozen women, were taking the class for the sake of being regimented in a class setting … they had done previous classes and I was the only real beginner. They went right into poses and I got little instruction and was behind in a matter of minutes. I stuck it out the first and second class and felt a little hopeless; I think people resented me for holding up production. I dropped the class, got most of my money back and bought a portable DVD player and yoga DVDs. They are still in shrink wrap downstairs – the class is the way to go – the regimen … all about the regimen. It was not the camaraderie for me anyway. Balance is important – my friend who is studying geriatric administration tells me that more seniors (not that you nor I are in that classification) have falls due to their lack of balance as they get older. They sit more, don’t walk as much – of course there are exceptions about seniors, some who are much more active than me. I found that interesting. You are embarking on the second chapter to balance your life – it is all good eventually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Linda, I know everything will come into balance eventually. I must just learn to be patient, not one of my strong suits. That yoga class sounds like it was not a good fit for you. I was lucky when I first learned. I was in a class with other true beginners. I have heard that balance is more difficult as we get older and I believe that totally. That’s one of the reasons I like to do yoga. It forces me to work on my balance, even though it is definitely not one of my strengths.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie, I sure wished I’d have been with beginners as it would have been much more enjoyable and I’d have gotten more out of it. I think I should try it out again – maybe when retired and I am not relegated to taking it just in the evenings and there are more options around. A woman in the Park is our age and does her exercise in the form of riding her bike and rollerblading. She is petite and is a terror on those skates. She’ll do 8-10 miles easily then goes on the bike. She teaches chair yoga to seniors at the senior center … chair yoga would not really do the trick for balance I wouldn’t think but she also teaches it at the “Y”, so there is a demand for her talents it seems. I had to pass on a walk – the streets were still slippery as were the sidewalks and streets. It was that freezing rain which coated the snow and made it glare ice in many places. Better than to risk wiping out but patience is not my strong point either.

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      • I have a friend who is about 5 years older than me. She is a terrific yoga instructor. One thing I liked about her classes was that she always gave modifications for each pose so that every person in the class had some version they could do. I was never very flexible and usually needed those modifications. She also went around and made little corrections to make sure you were doing the pose correctly. I appreciated that individual attention too.

        It is icy and slippery here today. I think I will go to the rec center and do the elliptical rather than run on the roads. Hope both of us can get back outside soon!

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      • I would appreciate the personal attention too, just until I got the hang of what I was doing. That is why I dropped the class – she never moved from the front of the class and everyone else knew all the moves from her prior classes.

        You had what we had yesterday Laurie. I did get out today and waited until 1:00 p.m. to do so. I walked in the street as not any traffic mid-day Sunday, but the Park had lots of icy patches. Walked in the snow alongside the path, but only did one mile down there, enough to feed “the boys” and then left. Three miles is better than a stick in the eye in mid-Winter in Michigan. Hope you get back outside soon too … keep dreaming of Costa Rica.

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      • It’s in the 50s here today. Hoping you are getting some of this warmth too. The snow is melting and roads are clear, but still snow in our yard and our neighbors that prevents us from taking Benji into town. Come on, spring! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That was us yesterday and today, but today was not so nice as it rained most of the day. It sure felt good yesterday feeling the warm sun in your face … we have an ice storm coming tomorrow night into Wednesday with treacherous weather, so that is unfortunate since it got so clear again. This up-and-down weather is just wacky. Let’s just go to Spring and be done with it!

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  15. I love you how connect the relationship between the chemical elements to the elements within our lives Laurie. It is a lovely viewpoint to take and speaking as a chemistry major myself I totally understand the concept! It gives me hope reading your post today because I think I have always struggled with staying-at-home since I made that change four years ago – achieving that balance hasn’t been easy. But since starting my blog I can feel the equilibrium shifting all the time and evening itself out and so I am much happier within myself. It is a great comparison to make and once again I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the comment, Tracey. I didn’t realize you were a chemistry major. You probably appreciate my weak attempt at describing equilibrium more than most readers! 🙂 I made the decision to stay home with my children when they were young. It was a definite shift in my equilibrium then too, but it was one I never regretted. Glad to read that blogging has shifted your equilibrium in such a positive way. I have enjoyed the creative outlet and the friends I have made through blogging too.

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    • OH, same here. I tend to go overboard with cross training. One time I sabotaged a half marathon I had on my calendar for months because I decided to do a 40-day yoga challenge at the same time. The challenge involved a “fruit fast” (I could eat only fruit), which wrecked my nutrition!

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  16. When I am consistent with my yoga practice I am at my strongest, most flexible and balanced. I’m not sure why I don’t stick with it, but this is a good reminder why I should. I love the image of you balancing at yoga class. Thanks for the smile this morning.

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    • Yoga comes and goes from my fitness routine too. It’s hard to find time for EVERYTHING! I swim, do Body Pump, run (of course), do the elliptical, plank, and, yes, do yoga, but not all at the same time! Glad I could make you smile! 🙂

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  17. Your posts are so insightful and thought-provoking. I do some yoga poses (mixed in with stretching), but it’s been awhile since I’ve done a “real” yoga session. Although my balance is wonky, it is much improved since I started working on the balance poses. My flexibility is marginal, too….good, but NOT impeccable 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I am sure no matter how much your balance and flexibility need improvement, you are miles ahead of me! 🙂 I still love to do yoga.

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  18. I have just started using a Pilates app and it is nearly killing me! I am much less flexible than I imagined and my muscles are not happy with me. But I am really enjoying having a focus and trying something new. Thanks for linking up with #globalblogging

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hubster is retiring from the military in less than 18 months and it is nerve-wracking. He is a man defined by his job and now he’ll have to redefine himself. It’s a nice reminder that others have done it before and came out okay! #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Hi Laurie, I’ve tried yoga and as much as I want to enjoy it and know it’s good for me I just can’t get into it. I do love your analogy. Life does change and we either learn to adapt or waste precious time fighting the change and in turn our happiness. I like to think of each change as the opening of a new chapter, but I rather like your comparison to flailing during a yoga session!

    Thank you for sharing with #keepingitreal and good luck with your recent life change.

    xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand. I have several friends who just don’t like yoga. I think what I like most about it is the way I have time to think during savasana (the rest period at the end). Thank you for the chance to share.

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