Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Finding the Balance Button

We may outrun
By violent swiftness
And lose by over-running.
~ William Shakespeare

So, I haven't really gotten into the details of my first month in training, but I will talk about two things I've been focusing on that I think a lot of people could benefit from as well.

Part of our "homework" after last class was to pick one of five Yamas and one of five Niyamas to focus on. Yama means "Right Attitude" and Niyama means "Right Observances."

The attitude I was drawn to for this month was "Brahmacharya" — Moderation, Channeling Emotions

• No overindulgence of mind, intellect, speech, body. Moderation on all levels, physical desires, food, all aspects of daily life including the environment. Practice not repression, but control of sensual cravings.

And the Observance I chose was "Tapas" — Austerity

• The willingness to do what is necessary to reach a goal with discipline. Practice cultivating determination to pursue daily practices, enthusiasm for the spiritual path. Joyfulness with outer discipline will lead to inner discipline.

So far, it's been a bit of an ebb and flow. I've had days where I've felt quite balanced and disciplined and others, where I've felt like I overindulged or did too much of one thing and not enough of another, etc.

I felt they both kind of went hand in hand and I've tried, especially with "Tapas," to get things done I've been putting off and focusing on the good vibrations I feel afterward. Same with the times I feel balanced emotionally, mentally and physically.

Perhaps those reading might want to try these goals as well, but molded to fit your own lives.

It's not easy ... But I've been making an effort to do 10 to 15 minutes of Yoga in the morning, to take stretching breaks throughout my work day and observe when I'm getting too engrossed in any one task or bringing tension to my body.

I've been trying to eat better, though I've had my days ... and I've been trying, especially right now — in the dead of this season, when depression tends to swallows me up — to channel my emotions, desires, frustrations, ego wants, etc. into more creative, distracting or relaxing ways. Whether it's reading, sketching, getting out and seeing a movie (even on my own), writing, pushing myself to walk L even in the cold, going out with different people, hosting small gatherings at my home, etc.

Yoga, in the physical sense, is all about tension and release. It's all about cycles.

Each person's life entails its own combination of tension and release moments. All throughout the day. Even something as simple and natural as your breath demonstrates this. The pulling in of air, the expanding and tightening of the lungs, the gentle release and subtle relief that ensues.

The important thing is to find more release moments throughout our day. To stop wasting so much of our life force, our energy, on fixated thoughts, stresses, work, tension, drama. Most of which doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of life. So, the first step is awareness, just be aware of yourself.

Then, make small adjustments. You're driving and you feel your body is tense, notably relax it. You notice you're straining in front of your computer screen, release your neck, back, take a deep breath and refocus. You're walking to the car and it's freezing out and you're tense and shivering, try to relax your muscles and refocus your attention elsewhere, on your breath, maybe take in the sky or the trees.

Perhaps you're listening to someone and feel your patience wearing thin or you're noticing that you're focusing on all negatives going on with your day rather than the numerous positives, like the simple fact you're alive, breathing and in motion. Maybe with that person, readjust your attention to focus on the things you actually like or love about them. Same with your "bad" days. Find the release moments in your day. Find them and envelope them.

These are just a few random things that came to mind, but I assure you, the more you pay attention, the more you realize just what needs adjustment in your life, what you are lacking, what you need more of or less of for your own well being. Let your own body and intuition tell you all you need to know.

And then, it's just a matter of discipline and moderation :-)


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