Breathing and Balance

Recently I was taken by the insight that being in balance is not a state to cling to.  We all know that when we are “out of balance” in our lives that it can affect many things in our body, mind and emotions.  However, I question whether that is because we are “attached” to being “in balance”?  The better question might be, do we have something to learn in the territory of imbalance?

We are told by culture, our parents, and our ever-present egos that we must “maintain” and not be taken over by feeling or emotion, get angry, be sick or out of sorts, be different, or go too far from mid-line.  The fact of the matter is that we will always go in and out of balance.  It is part of being alive as a human being, just as natural as our inhale and exhales from moment to moment.

An opportunity to explore within a yoga class the concept of moving from balance to imbalance for an entire 90 minutes brought for me great awareness on how the control of ego gets in the way of a full breath.  The breath was the barometer that informed me whether I was attached or not, which translates to whether my ego was invested in being in balance or not.

It was transparently simple!  Every time my ego became involved in maintaining “balance” – in this case within yoga poses – the results were predictable.  Struggle, effort, and breath holding or significantly diminished breath.

The most surprising result of attachment to whether I was in balance or out of balance – and we were given multiple attempts for both experiences – was that when I completely let go of what state I was in I felt more grounded and rooted and my breath was full.  In other words, balance became innately easy and falling out of balance had no ego centered judgement attached to it.  In fact falling out of balance was fun and became just another “dance step” in life.

What happened with the breath?  Every single time I was attached to a certain outcome my breath diminished, was held, or stopped all together.  With surrender to whatever was happening in the moment it all became a part of living life and savoring whatever experience unfolded itself as free of self judgement as possible.  In fact, my balance improved within letting go of the resistance to falling out of balance!

We often are so busy living life ahead of ourselves.  A diminished, held or shallow breath will clue you in to this very pattern.  Even something as simple as leaning forward when you stand or walk affects the quality of your breath.  Watch and learn!

Be willing to learn from the places of imbalance in your life and remember these 3 things:  (Courtesy of Keith Kachtick, Dharma Yoga, Austin, Texas)

*Release attachment to being in balance.
*Surrender to gravity
*Root down into the Earth as if your breath was digging deeply down into the ground

From this place – no matter what happens in your life – you will find that the breath remains full and rooted to your Source.  A state of being to return to over and over again.  Allow yourself to play with the imbalance and marry it to balance.  What a delightful dance that is!