Balance

November 5, 2016

Reflections

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Life is never perfect, so don’t expect it to be. Happiness comes with struggle and patience comes with stress. The thing to remember is everything is a balance and there is positive energy everywhere to counter negativities, we just need to tap into it.

Yin

“Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine principles of Yin and Yang, which can be understood as passive and dynamic energy, bodyART challenges you to equalize your powerful, dynamic energy with passive relaxation.”

I was first introduced to the world of bodyART at a restorative retreat at Naya in Ubud, Bali. bodyART is a new fitness modality with an emphasis of balancing yin and yang within your body and breath. When you are forced to think consciously of passive (yin) energy and dynamic (yang) energy, you start to notice duality everywhere. bodyART counterbalances mediative body poses with an active breath, and dynamic body movements with a passive breath. In the music, you hear contrasting energy between slow beats with passionate intensity and energetic tempo with steady beats.

The idea of balance and duality has always fascinated me because it conveys the idea that you need to appreciate what we often consider negativities — stress, anxiety, unhappiness. In reality, yin is just a balance to yang —only by experiencing darkness can you appreciate life and seek happiness. I came to Bali to wash away the negativities of stress and unhappiness and to try and rediscover my passive breath and patience. What I found was I was trying to find yin when I already had yin. In reality, all I needed to do was redirect the yin I had, and balance it with new energy and passion.

Happiness is a choice, an active choice. “You yourself destroy your own peace of mind. Your pain is your own personal creation.”

Smile

“Hatha yoga is the root form yoga … it brings balance, strength and a sense of well-being to the practitioner”

I explored my first hatha yoga class in Ubud at a small studio called Taksu Yoga. The practice consisted of the standard blend of asanas and pranayama, with each flow done mindfully. I remember when holding each pose, the yogini would always say “breath, smile.” I’ve been in many yoga classes and I’ve heard people say breath quite often … but I don’t think I’ve heard anyone tell me to smile.

We often say with our voices how thankful we are and we often pray with our minds how grateful we are. But we rarely express with our body how appreciative we are.

Externally, a smile from our body is a way to generate positive energy that can shape our perspective of a situation. “Our positive states of mind can act as antidotes to our negative tendencies and delusory states of mind.”

Mindfulness

“Tibetan bowl meditation utilizes the ancient sounds of singing bowls to transport you into a meditative state”

I’ve tried a few meditation styles in the past, and they all seem to emphasize focusing on a mantra or breath. What I’ve found challenging about focusing on a mantra or breath for meditation is that as time passes, my mind wanders away from being mindful and conscious and begins thinking of solutions to past problems it’s encountered.

The first time I experienced sound meditation it was amazing because I was able to stay mindful through most of the meditation. The singing bowls created different harmonies and frequencies that capture your attention and really keep your mind in the present. After experiencing a true session of mindfulness, I realized that it’s not necessarily about clearing your mind so much as it is about not worrying about the future.

‘Forget the sadness of the past and worries of the future and just live in the present.’ By living in the present you can find happiness.

Play

“Yin yoga healing explores long held therapeutic asanas releasing deep layers of contraction held in the connective tissue and stimulating the flow of chi through the main meridians that feed into all our primary organs, inviting suppleness, flexibility and the integration of body, mind and spirit.”

After I learned about the idea of yin from bodyART, I was interested to see how yin is treated in other modalities, so I went in search of a yin yoga class. The class I found was themed around the idea of “play” and started by asking you to share a memory of “play” with your neighbor.

At first I couldn’t think of anything because I was trying to think about what the word “play” meant to me. I remember playing as a kid meant just having fun with my friends and doing whatever I wanted to do. At its root, “play” basically means doing something for yourself.

At the start of class, my neighbor shared that she was in Bali because her husband had just passed away 6 months prior, so she had no memories of “play” to share with me and was simply trying to rediscover herself. At the end of class, my neighbor shared that she realized that her life had been so focused on taking care of others that she had forgotten to take care of herself.

As we become adults, we have more responsibility and that means taking care of the people we care about. However, I believe now that in order to take care of the people we love, we first have to take care of ourselves. By taking care of ourselves, we can share our positive energy with others. Without having that energy within, we have nothing to give.

Self

“Gentle yoga is sometimes known as the true yoga”

Bali is a magical place. The people have this great appreciation of the self, and the culture is so compassionate and collaborative. It’s magical to be in a community that is able to balance focusing on the self without the idea of selfishness.

My last day in Bali I ended up at a gentle yoga class. My yogini said that yoga is a way we take care of the body and the self. At the end of practice, we ended with a simple phrase:

“Thank you, I love you too self”

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