A common misconception is that balance is about finding the point between two extremities and staying there. That it is about being rock solid. But the earth spins, and there is always tremors in the ground.
When you draw your strength from the movement itself and instead of being a rock, rock with the tremors – or the boat – that’s when you find balance.
Calibrate. Make yourself fluid. Undulate. That’s where the real strength lies.
To do this, some stillness is required, paradoxically enough. But this stillness is not the same as standing still, it is being still – from the inside out. Trying out a balancing pose in a yoga asana class will almost always throw you off balance if your mind is wandering all over the place or if you are forcing yourself to shut it off. Finding balance requires the courage to be with what is there and become the silent, accepting watcher. Rest your eyes on a point and look in. Being still can be immensely courageous. When you are about to fall, your mind freaks out. That’s fine. Falling is more often than not completely fine too. How about that?
I just had one of my biggest breakthroughs in my private practice. I surrendered my fear and can finally do a pincha mayurasana, a standing peacock or forearm stand, in the middle of a room – no wall in sight or soft sand to land on. Sure, it’s a matter of core strength and hip flexibility. I’m not going to bullshit you there. It doesn’t happen over night. But I had practiced and practiced and practiced and built up the physical capability a long time ago. The picture on the beach is a year and a half old. I could do it then, but only because my mind accepted the sand as soft enough to land on. Trying it on a hard floor would make me freeze up and my body turned into a log. Timbeeeer. So I just couldn’t do it.
I have a pretty intense history with severe back pain, and I am sure that memories are stored in the body, telling the brain when to pull back. What it took for me to sever the umbilical cord that tied me to the wall was the act of letting go of the fear, letting go of the negative self-talk for failing and just surrendering to the possibility of falling. I also had to surrender a part of my identity with it, which is that “I am a back sufferer”. I’m not anymore. So I let myself fall. I even made myself fall on purpose. Because it made me not just think, but listen in and truly feel that it’s all ok. This fluidity, this softness was what I needed to be strong, courageous and balanced.