Yesterday was the first day for me to teach the anatomy module of a yoga teacher training program. As I prepared for it I remembered Day 1 of my first university anatomy class. Actually I didn’t… which indicates to me that there wasn’t anything too exciting about it – odd considering I was entering the field of human movement. I vowed not to bore these people to death.
My major take home on day 1.. a potentially “dry” day with lots of terminology and jargon and a very general introduction to the anatomy of movement was that human movement is a wondrous orchestration of “happenings” and “not happenings”… muscles pulling in various directions while others cease to pull, or pull a little less. Neural firings and signals from our brains to delicately control these movements with reciprocal firings back to our brain to let it know just how we’re doing… if we’re doing a-ok or if we’re running the risk of injury. It’s the precise balance of contraction and relaxation, continually changing in about 200 muscles which brings about a single step – and walking is something that we have some experience with. Imagine the
This theme of balance resonated throughout the class. Exploration of Organic Energy, which gives our bodies a sense of expansive freedom contrasted with Muscular Energy which is the more “contractile” strengthening force in our bodies. The balance of these energies and the channeling of them through our bodies becomes a simplified foundation in the physicality of yoga. “Hatha”, the Sanskrit word meaning sun and moon, the yin and yang of the yoga world. We discussed “feedback loops” which add to this playful dance of equilibrium that our bodies go through as we move throughout our lives.
More and more I began to think about this balance. How amazing it is. And as with so many things, I began to draw up its parallels to our lives. The struggle to allow one part of our life to pull a little harder at times than others, but also be able to allow it to rest as the other parts take priority for a while. The ebbs and flows of priority in our personal interests, our work, our hobbies, our social life, our family life, our spiritual life. How do we juggle it all?
As the discussion continued yesterday I feel the answer became more clear. I will preface my thoughts with the fact that I shudder a bit as I use this jargon. I feel the use of the words have become a bit cliche, but I do feel that the context requires them. So, how do we find this balance? We become more aware of the dynamic which is taking place. We acknowledge the various pulls and the game that these forces must play to achieve balance. We acknowledge the various aspects of our life which draw from us. The things that require our time, our energy, our attention.
Once we’re aware of these we can then begin to prioritize which we will allow to pull us. And how hard. And for how long. Adjusting the pull of some, never fighting it, just adjusting while succumbing to the pull of others. And just as our body provides feedback and makes adaptations as we move to ensure a coordinated effort, we too adjust. This is not simply “on” and “off”, this is a delicate duel of coordinating the various aspects of our lives to achieve all the things we want: success in business; a well-nurtured a family (however you want to define that word); participation in social activities and on and on.
And how do we get better at managing these things and finding that balance, or tipping point. Much as our friends in the yoga community, we practice. We consciously address our lives and look to integrate and adapt and embrace and change and channel and achieve the happiness, and balance that we are seeking – off the mat!
So to that group of future yoga teachers I say “thank you”. Thank you for the opportunity to engage in a dialogue… one of information exchange and learning… for all of us.