Monday, November 2, 2009


Well...I'm back.

If you're back, too, thank you. Things mostly look better (though Jason was involved in yet another car accident today, which I am not even going to go into, except to say that he's safe but the run of moderately bad luck is, apparently, still on.) I've discovered that the key to happiness, for me anyway, is a tricky little thing called balance.

The last few Saturdays, I have tried my hand at a yoga class. I initially did it because I feel the need to shake up my current workout routine and thought yoga would be a nice, relaxing, stress-relieving way to gently stretch my uptight muscles and rehab the knee I injured a couple of months ago.

I didn't count on it kicking my ass.

The very first class, after being asked at one point to roll onto my back, put my weight on my shoulderblades, and kick my feet back over my head and walk them backwards, I was about ready to laugh yoga off. In fact, I did laugh out loud after that pose and after a few other poses I tried were epic fails. But then I got called into "detention", as I frequently do after fitness classes.

Have I mentioned that I am not really coordinated?

"We need to work on your balance," the pretty little petite instructor said. And as she showed me some tips for aligning my core, and finding my center of gravity, and making small balance-aiding adjustments one teeny weight shift at a time, it hit me.

This is all stuff I need to do not only in down dog, but in life in general.

My troubles in yoga class are just a reflection of the troubles I've been having with life. I am not in alignment. I can't find my center. When my position changes, I can't make the adjustments I need to in order to not fall on my face.

In short, I can't find a good balance.

Balance is hard. I see now why some celebrities with the long, lean, muscular bodies I so want to have can at least partially credit yoga with their shape. It takes muscles you didn't even know you had to support your body weight while you're bent and twisted into a position most of us have only been in during a competitive round of childhood Twister. Some positions I've been twisted into the past three Saturdays seemed impossible to hold with my history of vertigo and a general lack of grace until I pulled from reserves in the core of my body that I didn't even know I had. It was either dig deep into these unknown reserves to try to find strength and balance, or fall into a formless heap on the hard wooden floor.

I chose to find strenth and balance. For a few seconds, anyway, and then I'd fall into a formless heap on the hard wooden floor.

But a few seconds of balance can do wonders for your body and mind.

Balance has been remarkably lacking in my life for longer now than I'd like to talk about. I've always been an all or nothing kind of gal. There have been times when my work has absolutely dominated my life at the expense of my health, my family, my sanity. There have been times I'm so focused on caring for others in my family and others in my workplace that I forget myself. And sometimes I get so wrapped up in me, myself, and I that work goes to hell and my family suffers. When one ball starts to drop, I don't make small adjustments; that always seems too hard. I let everything come crashing down, pick it back up, and swear that I'll do better tomorrow.

Really, though, the answer is to keep the balls in the air in the first place.

The past three Sundays have been hard. My body's search for balance isn't pain-free. I wake up a little tight and a lot sore. But I already feel stronger in a way that repetitions on nautilus equipment wasn't doing for me. I feel stronger in my core. And this Saturday, I didn't get called into fitness detention for remediation on a pose I totally bombed; I mostly kept with the program (I only toppled over once--progress!)

I hope I can also strengthen my mental and emotional core in the coming weeks. I am going to do a better job balancing home, work, and family and not letting any one of those things completely make or break my day. I ain't saying it's gonna be easy, and I ain't saying it won't hurt a little the next day.

But if it keeps me from falling on my face--totally worth it.

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