This past week, the Vernal Equinox came and went -- the first day of Spring, when we experience that half-and-half balance of daylight and darkness. The sense of equilibrium between the seasons on both the Spring and Autumn Equinox is a lovely invitation to explore balance in our day-to-day existence.
Striking a balance in a hectic life -- whether that’s a balance of effort and ease, of chaos and calm, of obligations and options -- can sometimes seem like an impossible task. Achieving a lasting state of perfect equilibrium sounds unachievable with the on-going pressures of family, career, bills, responsibilities, ad infinitum.
But perhaps that doesn’t need to be the goal. A beautiful reminder of this is the yin-yang symbol. It’s a familiar representation of balance, with light on one side and dark on the other, but my favorite part is the small bit of light that inhabits the darkness, and the small bit of darkness that occupies a patch of the light.
Let’s view the balance of effort and ease through the lens of the yin-yang symbol. Poses that may on the surface seem the very embodiment of ease (such as savasana or “corpse pose”) in fact require a fair bit of effort because it takes work and practice to quiet the busy mind and fully experience the restorative offerings of the posture. On the flip side, in poses that require more physical effort (for example, arm-balances like crow, or inversions such as headstand or handstand), one can find surprising pockets of ease. I find it is easier to let go of my to-do lists, worries, grudges, and other distracting thoughts when engaged in an asana that calls for greater effort from my physical body, and therefore it’s easier to be fully present in the moment.
It can be so helpful to remember that there is often effort within the ease, and ease within the effort. And once I open up to applying this yin-yang metaphor to more aspects of my life, the more achievable a sense of balance seems. Perhaps there will always be a little chaos in my calm (in the form of children’s toys strewn about or unfinished tasks on my to-do list when I pause to relax and read), and that’s okay. It encourages me to also seek (or create) rays of calm in the chaos.
Returning to the recent passing of the Equinox: its fleeting nature (only two days a year!) is also a much-needed reminder that a sense of balance isn’t necessarily a “destination” we can work toward and then settle down in permanently. Rather, it’s something that we may pass in and out of, periodically and momentarily, perhaps many times over the course of our lives.
May you seek and find the interplay of yin and yang in your life, and may your momentary encounters with balance come more frequently than twice a year!
Hot Feet Fitness Instructor