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How to Nurture Balanced Living

Updated: Feb 22

When we think of balance and yoga, wobbling around on one leg probably springs to mind, (the wobbles are great btw, that's how we learn :). But when we explore a little deeper, there's so much yoga can teach us about living a life that feels more balanced between the go-go-go and exhaustion states modern life tends to flip between.

Initially, like a lot of others, I was drawn to yoga because of the physicality. I had danced a lot as a kid, and being a naturally a bendy body type, the movement and the strength of the postures felt good. I knew very little about the vast philosophy and concept of yoga though.

But over time, my overstimulated, tired and wired nervous system became more familiar with intentional, mindful movement, I loved the invitation to slow the hell down, and the rest and restore of Savasana (once I learned to work with the discomfort of stopping, which isn’t always easy for our busy body-minds).

As I became more interested in yoga, I starting reading, and practised weekly and allowed myself to notice and feel more. I began feeling that my work life wasn’t on the right path. I was a creative who loved movment and I'd ended up sat at a desk in recruitment.

This was the beginning of a more balanced body-mind and life = leaving the sales job, retraining as a Yoga Teacher, and ultimately learning to run my own fulfilling business in a way that works for me, true to my values, with a desire to help others, and with a better work / life balance.

I am no way suggesting you have to jump ship! HOwever small changes to balance all that busy ‘doing’, thinking, worrying and rushing, with a slower sense of ‘being’ are mighty too. 

Balanced Living Is Nothing New

This concept of exploring a sense of balance isn’t a new one, ancient yogic wisdom (as always!) showed us the way. Sage Patangali wrote about this ‘The Yoga Sutras’ written c.400 CE. These “threads” (as sutra translates from Sanskrit) of wisdom offer guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life.

Sutra 2.46 – “sthira-sukham asanam”.

  • Sthira refers to stability, intent, strength

  • Sukha refers to comfort, ease, space and openness

On the mat for example, we could explore this balance of effort and ease through movement/ flow, breath, and somatics (felt awareness) whilst also remembering to practise slow, restorative yoga, mindfulness, and meditation. With the learnings from modern science, we know this offers  nervous system regulation. The perfect tonic for modern life. 

10 Things Yoga Knows About Balanced Living

Seven years after my big life change, I feel so grateful, and privileged to be able to choose to embody a less stressed, and more balanced, happier and calmer life that feels more true to my soul. 

I have learned A LOT along the way, here are the first ones that came to mind that I thought might be useful to share:

  • 1. ‘True Nature’ - Yoga connects us to our ‘true nature’, balance or homeostasis so we can find our way back to this place after rising the normal waves of human emotion (myth buster: We do not have to be ‘peaceful’ all the time!)

  • 2. Balanced perspectives - Yoga asana (posture) idoes not need to look the same in every body. There are MANY expressions of every yoga shape to meet every unique being with compassion and grace.

  • 3. Intuition - We can radically learn to listen to our own energy and respond. We do not have to ‘push on through’ as we might have learned culturally. Being true to energy will serve the collective energy too. This is the interconnectedness of life yoga speaks to.

  • 4. Restore - Learning to slow down can be hard for many of us, but even just 10 minutes a day to do something that feels like resting and simply ‘being’ is a great way to begin to feel more balanced. Being in nature, or mindfully noticing breathing or sounds, or just quietly drinking a cuppa without a phone in our hand, are all valuable ways to calm our distracted, busy lives and body-minds.

  • 5. Energy - Balanced living is a daily practice of being mindful of where we focus our energy or 'Prana' (life force), and with who. Some people/ situations / activities can feel like they drain energy, others sustain. Try reflecting on this, directing energy towards sustainers and notice how it feels.

  • 6. …… and our sustainers and drainers shift all the time, just like the fluctuating energy of the seasons. Softening into our natural, ever changing energy and kindly working with this, in any small way that feels realistic to our life, is beneficial.

  • 7. Resilience - Feeling strong is just as important as feeling rested to support and nurture a feeling of resilience and balance. Through this nervous system balancing practice of yoga, our body-minds can learn to connect to his wisdom already inside us all

  • 8. Awareness: Mindfulness and meditation are the foundation and most useful when practised regularly - ‘little and often’ at a time that fits your life, is most useful and realistic for most of us.

  • 9. Allowing: Balance is knowing when to push on through to get the sh*t done, and when to soften, pause, restore or let go and try something new, even if it feels scary.

  • 10. Community: It has been well documented that feeling part of a community is great for our wellbeing. Whether in classes, workshops or retreats, this community and collective energy is yoga too. 

I invite you to consider what small but mighty shifts you could bring into your daily life to feel more balance between movement and stillness, doing stuff and resting, effort and ease, to nurture wellbeing through a more balanced life.

If you are interested in being supported to explore a sense of bodymind balance through strength and softness, as well as community, please check out my classes and UK retreats, or get in touch about private 121 teaching, or corporate classes in your (Bristol) workplace.

*Photo credit of scales: Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

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