A client of mine was recently explaining her history with health - full throttle or nada. She was constantly seeking the program that would stick. Nothing up to this point was able to keep her attention and she would completely go for it, and then let it all go.
In yoga, I teach the philosophy of sthira and sukha – steadiness and ease – which allows for us to discover strength and steadiness, while at the same time ease and flexibility. This creates an opportunity for us to find and sustain balance, both on and off the yoga mat.
In a life full of dualities- black and white, short and tall, motivated and lazy, strong and flexible – we often find ourselves fixed on one or the other. With the practice (practice being key here) of sthira and sukha, students begin to find the balance between steadiness and ease, strength and flexibility.
When it comes to nutrition, lifestyle, and all happenings pertaining to health, mentalities tend to be very one-sided – much more sthira – focused solely on one way of eating, one type of exercise, calories burned, miles ran, and so on. We are conditioned to uphold very structured programs and methodologies when it comes to creating and maintaining health.
But, much like yoga, much like life, we work in dualities. One side of the pendulum often instigates the coming of the other. Which is why people so often “fall off the wagon” when its come to their health, diets, goals and intentions.
What if we instead maintain the steadiness by adding ease to our mission of health?Creating balance is what allows for you to not only reach health, but more importantly, maintain health. Balance eliminates health’s glass-ceiling.
Begin creating ease by asking yourself how you feel versus fixating on the should-do listset for yourself. Instead of, “I need to do this in order to feel…” substitute, “Right now, I feel this way, and therefore I need...”
Maybe today, my body is feeling tight and fatigued. So, I choose to take a gentle yoga class, or go on a long walk. I spend my extra time cooking a nourishing meal and nurturing myself so that tomorrow I can show up feeling stronger. Today, I am listening and choosing to offer myself health in another way.
(Yes, of course, there are days when you have to get your ass up and out! You may even feel more balanced after. However, as we start to listen to the subtleties within, we start show ourselves exactly what we need.)
Health does not need to be within the structure or image you thought it to be. The off-balanced structures and systems we have created around health often oppose the definition of health itself. Find the balance – the sthira and the sukha. Finding even just a bit of the ease allows for you to create health in a personal, transformational and truly sustainable way.
Allowing for balance creates the opportunity for a life of wellness, energy, intention, self-awareness, and vitality.