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