Choose Your Yoga for Better Balance

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I was listening to a group of my girl friends chat the other day, and all of them expressed the frustration of time, or lack of it, to accomplish all their daily tasks and personal projects. One friend commented (with a sigh) that sometimes it’s impossible to find balance in life, and instead it’s more about juggling all the pieces. I’m not sure I totally agree with this. There is some truth that sometimes there really is no end to the demands, and letting go of some things isn’t always possible. But I also know that this juggling act can come to a crashing fall if there are too many items or if the juggler themselves isn’t taken care of.

To me balance means taking care of all the parts in our life that are important to us, and no one can deny the importance of health in our lives. Finding balance in life, and making sure to include those items that give us good health, doesn’t just happen. First it takes keen awareness of our needs from day to day, and from moment to moment, to create it. Sometimes we need to take a purposeful pause from the rushing river of daily living and check inwards to notice what it is that we are in need of, or what it is that is missing in our days/weeks to feel healthy and thriving.

It is also a matter of making the choice to prioritize it somewhere in the schedule. Sometimes this means making difficult choices and letting go of things, since time is limited. For example it is easy to get wrapped up in staying true to social obligations and personal commitments, e.g. a volunteer position or a fitness goal, but maybe we are running our reserves low, perhaps even compromising our immune at the cost of our dedication to the activity. It can be tough to admit that one of our time commitments may not be in our best interests or, for a period of time, we need something different. It takes courage and compassion in our self care to make the decision to pause or let go of something that is not serving us.

What I love about yoga is that not only can the classes draw out our awareness of what it is we need in our lives for better balance, but once you are educated on the styles of yoga and various offerings out there, you’ll find there’s a yoga class that can fill many of your health needs. Here’s a little summary list to get you started on the ways various ways different yoga classes can benefit you:

  • For the beginner, or a class for initiating mobility and strength, where you may need gentleness and safety to get you on your way:

    • Therapeutic (Kripalu, Phoenix Rising, Viniyoga are some branches of therapeutic yoga)

    • Hatha (beginner level)

    • Chair yoga

  • To calm and relax our systems, or add a little introspection in our day (little to no physicality involved in these styles):

    • Restorative

    • Yoga Nidra

    • Various meditation classes

    • Therapeutic yoga

  • For strength, flexibility, and balance:

    • Hatha

    • Iyengar

    • Flow (Vinyasa)

  • For an uplift in energy and more vigorous physical exercise:

    • Flow/Vinyasa

    • Hatha (intermediate level)

    • Hot Yoga (Moksha or Bikrams are a couple branches of hot yoga)

    • Power

    • Ashtanga

    • Aerial

    • Kundalini

  • To eliminate tension, when you’re body needs a really good stretch:

    • Yin yoga

    • Hot yoga

    • Aerial yoga

(Of course there are many more styles and branches of yoga than the ones I’ve listed, these are just a few of the more common class styles you’ll see offered.)

 A class, that is relatively new, that I’ve been doing lately is aerial yoga. I was feeling the need for more more energy, a little fitness, and some good stretching in my day to balance out the mental heaviness and sedentary nature of the work I was doing. I was also craving something new, something exciting. Aerial yoga has been perfect for these needs . It is possible that in a month from now I may may need more relaxation and down time. And letting go of the notion that I have to achieve a certain goal in a specific timeline helps me fill my week with better self care, so I might change to a restorative yoga class or book myself for a yoga therapy session. My “me” time is precious, so I choose to fill it with what serves me best, and I don’t feel guilty for it. This keeps balance in my life. There will be plenty of time to do it all, sometimes just not all at once. Keep your balance by making the right choices for yourself, in the moment.

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Bliss Trifecta

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The other night I taught a class with the theme of the triple-effect, in honour of those perfect, come-together moments of pure bliss. We called it a bliss trifecta. The students and I shared our personal trifectas in class. Here’s a few examples:

  • Open road, convertible, favourite tune
  • Campfire, coffee, sunrise
  • Hammock, Tofino beach, salty sea air
  • Early morning, horse back riding, sunlight twinkling through the trees
  • Sunny patio, morning coffee, birds chirping

In our class we celebrated this theme by sandwiching poses/movements/stretches that our bodies were calling for at the beginning, middle, and end of the class. Some students chose energetic poses such as standing balances, handstands, and dancing. While others chose inversions or relaxing restorative poses. It was great to see each person truly honouring their own needs in the moment.

My teacher, Julia Shields, from Free Spirit Yoga, pointed out how in most of our bliss trifectas described simple, non-monetary things… so true.

I read this poem at the end of class to send us off into a lazy, blissful savasana:

yesyesyes

yes to the afternoons of reading and napping in the sun.
yes to the hummingbird flitting about the lemon tree.
yes to the spontaneous afternoons of laughter, beer gardens and sunburns.
yes to my sweaty, everchanging yoga practice.
yes to sleeping in on a monday.

yes to it all right now. a big ol’ yes.

(Found this poem on a blog website by Mary Beth Larue – not sure if she’s the author).

Here’s to enjoying the small moments in your day when things come together. I hope you can sandwich your day with things that fill you up.

Shanti ~ Renee

P.s. What’s your bliss trifecta?

 

 

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