Last weekend I had the serendipitous fortune to experience a couple of extraordinary balancing acts. My family watched the movie Man on Wire and took in Seattle’s own Moisture Festival, a Comedy and Variety Show with acrobats, jugglers and musicians. These performers practice “balance” in extreme conditions: walking on a wire thousands of feet from solid ground, practicing a handstand on top of a moving, breathing, mountain of people. When we place or find ourselves in challenging situations, we are given an opportunity to cultivate a deep steadiness. Our world is changing rapidly. There are no longer Twin Towers in Manhattan, our economy is no longer tearing skyward like those emblems of commerce, but the ancient practice of yoga is perfectly suited to help us to navigate this rapid change, which many say is leading us to a higher level of consciousness.

If you are looking for a state of balance in your busy life, try a post like vrksasana, tree pose, to help steady your center. Start by lifting your right knee up to your chest. Flex the foot and place your foot as high as you are able into your left inner thigh. Place your hands on your hips until you feel still and grounded, then move your hands into prayer position at your heart. Want to add more challenge to your balanced state? Lift the arms into prayer overhead. Another challenge option: release the foot behind you and your arms like wings into virabhadrasana III, warrior III. Keep your hips square and your legs active. You can put the hands back into one of the earlier tree positions (hands to hips or prayer to heart) to help you find balance, or take this even further with arms forward. Release back to tadasana and do the other side. When you return to tadasana after the second time, take a minute or so to really feel your feet on the ground and the energy in your body.

How have you found balance in the midst of challenge, or even chaos? Do you ever place yourself in an extreme position to go deeper into self-knowledge?

Posted by: Anne Phyfe

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