Sunday, February 13, 2011

Finding the Balance on and off the Mat

For me, yoga practice is a metaphor for living well, balanced, strong, healthy.
As a stay-at-home mom, if I can't find a few hours a week for working out, then something is off-balance within the demands of daily living, raising children, and keeping a home.

My gifted yoga instructor says yoga increases our ability in "finding balance between exertion and ease" ... whether settling into a deep twisted lunge, holding side plank in yoga toe lock, "resting" in plank, or struggling to get a spot in the parking lot before class is filled.

With this in mind, I am trying to find "the ease" when the pressure's on to get it all done, when there's too much "Incoming", too many demands on the too few hours in a day ...  when I make the time for yoga and running the treadmill, I am more productive, energetic, and positive outside the gym; when I'm not exercising ... well, you get the picture...

I come from a long line of hardworking women (my mom raised four without help ("Don't think about how you're going to get it all done, just do it!" she routinely says, even when I was expecting my third...)
- she beat Nike to that slogan.
Her mom - whose frequent adage was a firm, "Push yourself" - worked full-time on her feet until she was 88, walking to and from work in the snow... And her mom (my great grandmother) ran a bar and grill in Astoria, Queens, while raising seven children ...

Still, I will intentionally try hard to take occasional shavasanahs (restorative, resting poses) by sitting for a while with feet up on the ottomon, by flipping through a magazine, by trying a new recipe, by enjoying a frivolous phone conversation with a friend about nothing important.

If you practice yoga or are determined to give this ancient, body and mind-encompassing exercise a try because you believe in its benefits ("Don't mess with ancient wisdom," my teacher says.) I encourage you to use yoga props such as foam blocks, cotton straps (pictured below), or bolsters

These props will help you to experience a full-range of postures ... with some measure of "ease" as you settle into the poses and as you reach your personal edge of exertion within these challenging yet health and strength-yielding positions.


~ Linda

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