I love my yoga class but there’s one aspect that often leaves me frustrated rather than calm and focused: the balance. I’m just not very good at it. I’ve never been good at balancing since a child: handstands collapsed; headstands were a mystery; hopscotch a trial; bike riding mastered only at the grand age of 20!
But I’m working on my balances in yoga. And sometimes I glimpse a hint of progress.
My favourite is Tree (they all have evocative names). One knee bent and pointing to the side, sole resting on the opposite calf (the more advanced have it against the thigh or groin), hands move from a prayer pose in front of the heart to outstretched above the head in a Y, fingers reaching out like twigs growing towards the sky.
I practised it on holiday in front of the double height, floor to ceiling windows, looking out to a view of silver birches and spruce trees. There are techniques to help the pose: tighten your core muscles; fix your gaze on something ahead. I stared at the trees I was trying to mimic.
And it helped.
I realized that I was trying to stay rigidly still so the almost constant wobbles of my supporting foot felt like failures and I would often tip out of the balance. But the young birches in front of me moved, swaying or flexing in the wind like its dance partner. So I relaxed and allowed the readjustments of my foot, imagined I was a tree reaching up and out to the light. And I found I could maintain the pose for longer.
My balance improved.
Of course, the other reason the trees could bend with the breeze was because their roots were deeply secure in the firm ground. Which reminded me of the Story of the Two House Builders or the Anchor that keeps us steadfast because it is ‘fastened to the Rock which cannot move’, no matter the storms that threaten to overturn us.
The key to achieving balance in our lives, as we learn to bend rather than break in turbulent circumstances, is to make sure that our roots are secure. And the best way to do that is to have them ‘grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s Love’. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQQO8v-0VBo
Matthew 7.24-27 and Hebrews 6.19