In yoga and Tai Chi, maintaining your balance can be tricky. I used to wobble on one leg while getting into Tree pose and fall right over during (modified) Lord of the Dance. I tried imagining my energy flowing through whichever foot was on the ground, rooting me to the spot. I tried to improve my balance by stretching one arm forward and pushing backwards with my leg to keep me steady. It was a change in my mindset that finally made my efforts more consistently stable.
During my practice, my awareness was busy thinking ahead—reaching, stretching, trying to get into the correct posture so I could tell myself I had done it. And after that? Achievement unlocked, check mark in the box, move on to the next pose. Even when the thoughts weren’t conscious, they were working in the background. I had been practicing yoga for a very long time by this point, and didn’t understand why my balance wasn’t better. My legs and core were strong enough. I’d put in the hours of practice.
Standing (unsteadily) in Lord of the Dance pose, I heard that calm inner voice that I call my higher self say, “Make your home here.” I thought about the concept of home, and asked myself what I would do if this was how I would always stand (I know, that would be ridiculous). But stretching forward, without reaching for anything, leg arched behind me, anchored by my other arm, I settled into my body as if that form—that pose—was home. As if that moment was forever.
I noticed an immediate change. I stopped wobbling. Staying in the pose took strength, but felt effortless. And a mirroring peace and restfulness flowed through my heart and mind. I had stopped thinking of what I wanted, and settled into the best version of the pose I was capable of. It wasn’t perfect, but it was where I needed to be at that point in my path. I had reached the balance point of contentment and striving.
Moments like that are part of why I practice yoga every day. I never know when I’ll have an epiphany that helps me not just in that moment, but beyond. I still think of making a pose my home any time I feel strain or unsteadiness.
Sometimes I find the strength I need to achieve what I want. Sometimes my body or my circumstance tells me I have more work to do. I could say this about so many aspects of my life. I think most of us can.
I’m always thinking of the next goal. Get this done, move to the next task, and on and on. Reaching for what we want is important, but we need to remember that which supports us—the ground beneath our feet.
Wanting is good. It keeps me moving, constantly challenges me to be better. It’s the siren call of “what could be” in my life. When I find myself wanting something, it’s a notice to look at where I’m spending my time and energy and decide whether I need to shift my resources toward another goal.
Having is necessary. Taking time to savor what I’ve accomplished, to rest where I am, to truly feel the love and blessings that surround me. Without remembering this, my energy starts to be depleted by unnecessary thoughts and worries. I have everything I need to build the life I want. It will take time, thought, and effort. Above all, it will take focus and balance.
I invite you to take a moment and reflect on your life—on what you have and what you want. Do you need to shift how you spend your time and energy so that your efforts are more aligned with your life goals? Then start where you are. Take a breath. Make one choice, one step, that will bring you closer to where you want to be. That’s where it begins.