bal·ance \ ba-len(t)s \ : noun
Equipoise between contrasting, opposing, or interacting elements
– Merriam Webster
bal·ance \ ba-len(t)s \ : noun
The path between extremes
Balance is classically defined as a momentary state of being. My definition alludes to a state that is always there for us to return to; it is constant — we walk a path of seeking balance, and that means navigating dualities … extremes. We may visit the extremes often, but balance is always available. In order to make balance possible, we must remain open to experiencing the extremes, even when they are not exactly what we wish to experience. We must be familiar with our edges. We are best served to move toward balance when we can be open and accepting of those edges, and when we can remember impermanence
“This too, I can use.” The words Gina Caputo spoke to us in teacher training, dance through my mind daily now. I return to these words like a mantra when I encounter those extremes and they steer me back to balance. If we wish to inspire, we must first be inspired. Inspiration does not always come wrapped in a pretty package. Often, inspiration springs from the soil of darkness, ego, fear, extreme effort or grief. Inspiration may arise from the grit, the dirt and the pain — the moments when we want to flee, yet we remember impermanence and remind ourselves with tenderness: “This too I can use.”
On a physical level in asana, we could choose to only practice the poses we know we are “good at,” or “feel good.” This may feel tremendously satisfying, but what tools does that really give us to meet the outside word? Satisfaction fades. If we choose to explore our edges in a practice, curious about things that challenge us, we might grow. Growth continues. We gain tools to weather real life challenges. We inspire. We move toward balance. Our asana practice gives us the raw material which we can polish to create a breathtaking and constantly evolving masterpiece.
Move toward the path between two extremes gently
In July I experienced a devastating loss in my life, and I avoided my mat. There was a moment when I was breaking down and screaming to a friend “Why? Why did this happen?” She said to me, “Maybe it happened so that you could love even more.
Maybe it was to remind you just how much you can love.” And there it was — through all the pain I get to feel more love — what an incredible gift! “This too I can use.” I returned to my mat. I still meet that pain almost daily, and each time I have to remind myself of that love, but allowing myself to experience the extremes steers me toward balance.
Be in pain. Feel the grief. Sit with it. See it. Remember it is impermanent. You are still whole. Move toward the path between two extremes gently. Perhaps you arrive back on that path even more full of love and tenderness for yourself and others, and you are so much stronger. A thick skin and a tender heart. Balance.
BRIANA CONSTANCE is a yoga teacher ERYT 500, a cycling teacher, fitness coach, and CEO of Endorphin studios. She been teaching yoga since 2004, and cycling/fitness since 2009. Briana is a teacher who will support and challenge you no matter what stage of your journey you are at in the moment. She teaches to help others see what they are capable of and help dissolve perceived limitations on and off the mat. @brianaconstanceyoga / brianaconstanceyoga.com / @endorphindenver / myendorphin.com