Balance…As a fitness coach and a lifelong equestrian, I ruminate a lot on physical balance. Here are a few things I know for sure:
- When practising Tree Pose in yoga, you don’t just find the sweet spot and stay there.
- Contrary to what some people think, when riding a horse you don’t just sit in the middle (like baggage) and hope for the best.
- As you age, your handle on balance starts to fade…So, use it or lose it is truth.
The good news
The good news is that physical balance is dynamic. This means that if you practice, you can maintain your sense of balance and even improve upon it with age.
At Custom Fit, I see this in the barn at Boot Camp and in the studio at your yoga classes. And, I hear it…you tell me how much better your balance is after giving it some focused attention—like the kind you find in a regular yoga practice.
And by regular, I do not mean drop-in…
Another kind of balance you might be searching for is a work-life balance.
For years if you asked me how to find a balance between work and life, my standard (and always honest) answer was to say:
I am not sure it’s attainable.
Instead, I encouraged you to do this:
Focus on the season of life that you are in (e.g. school, parenting, building a house, getting ready to retire, etc…).
I always added that:
Everything is subject to change.
And, for good measure (if things were particularly tough), I’d throw in:
Let the corners of your mouth turn-up because, this too shall pass!
A nugget about balance…
I just got back from the annual, Toronto Yoga Conference. I always choose a teacher who focuses on anatomy. Every year, my plan is to garner more anatomy nuggets as I continue to build my own systems and theories about fitness to share with you.
This year I came away with an extra takeaway nugget—this year’s nugget was about balance.
As I said above, for years I taught that balance is dynamic. So when the instructor mentioned this to us, it was not a new concept for me. What grabbed my attention was that we weren’t balancing when she spoke of balance being dynamic—we were sitting on the floor…Doing nothing.
The workshop I chose this year was about yin yoga. Yin is a quiet form of yoga. This style of yoga is about relaxation and full body stretching for the connective tissue and joints with an emphasis on the hips, shoulders and back.
With a waitlist almost every week, yin is one of our most popular classes at Custom Fit. A regular yin practice helps to increase mobility and ease of movement as you age and strength or flexibility are not required!
Basically, if you can get on the floor, you can join us…I’m serious.
Yin is that easy and…it’s that hard.
Challenging because an added bonus is that yin helps melt away the ‘issues in your tissues’. Sitting in the poses and being still offers a chance for you to deal with your ‘unnecessary baggage’. Whether you like it or not—through osmosis—trust me, it’s happening.
That, and that alone, is what will make you sweat in a yin class.
As we sat on the floor in our yin poses at the conference, one of the things the instructor talked about was the balance of yin and yang in our every day lives.
I totally got this.
Without learning and embracing a regular yin practice, I seriously doubt that I would still be in action at Custom Fit 13 years later. That’s because before introduced to yin yoga, I tended to run pretty ‘yang’ in terms of exercise (think running and weights). This left me often injured and regularly worn-out.
Now, the study and the practice of yin yoga is one of my passions. It saved my body and, it saved my mind…
Not only did consistent yin practice heal my physical body, yin (along with good nutrition) gave me back my mind. A mind which, before implementing a regular yin practice into my fitness routine (and more healthy fats), was owned by the loud-mouthed, self-deprecating monkey who lived in my head (e.g. my monkey mind).
So, while sitting on the floor at an eight-hour workshop on Yin, I had an epiphany…
Balance is dynamic.
The libration was immediate and clear: work-life balance is dynamic. It’s about ebb and flow. Because…ALL balance is dynamic.
Here is a dictionary listing for dynamic:
(of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress
(of a person) positive in attitude and full of energy and new ideas: she’s dynamic and determined.
Here is the thesaurus listing for dynamic:
energetic, spirited, active, lively, zestful, vital, vigorous, forceful, powerful, positive; high-powered, aggressive, bold, enterprising; magnetic, passionate, fiery, high-octane; informal go-getting, peppy, full of get-up-and-go, full of vim and vigor, gutsy, gutty, spunky, feisty, go-ahead; vulgar slang ass-kicking. ANTONYMS half-hearted.
Whenever I learn something new, I distill it down and flesh it out so I can share it with you.
After offering these thoughts on balance with the Boot Camp and Yoga classes Saturday morning, I got this note from one of you (who joined us for both):
I love the analogy you shared about physical balance and life balance being dynamic and fluid—something you can physically feel in your body [that] makes sense in the rest of your life. Permission to give and take a bit and make adjustments as needed…the ebb and flow. So powerful to relate that to life!
Our core keeps us balancing…our heart drives our actions. My god, our bodies are smart.
What does this mean? It’s true that balance is not the ‘easy button at Staples’. And, that’s ok! Because, in a moment of stillness, another takeaway nugget for me yesterday was this:
With every breath, you get to begin again…
This means that with every breath you are brand new. How great is that? If this resonates with you, let me know! I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Cait Lynch, B.A.
Nutrition, Fitness & Momentum Coach
Owner | Custom Fit Vitality
P.S. Thanks for reading. I blog weekly (usually on Sundays). My goal is to share stories and tips on nutrition, fitness and momentum. If this isn’t your gig, feel free to unsubscribe.
P.P.S. If you want to connect, please get in touch anytime. I’m here to help. You can find my book NOURISH locally at Kerr’s Corner Books in Campbellford, you can order it at any bookstore world-wide or, grab your copy on AMAZON.
P.P.S. Want to try yin? If you are local, join us for classes on Monday at 7:00 PM and Thursday at 5:45 PM. You can also find and awesome collection of yin classes in our Eat MORE! Exercise LESS! Club library. You can become a member by clicking here.