Balancing acts

Rose planted on a sandy beach

I am pretty tired this morning. Can I say morning? It’s 12.09pm already, and I slept a good ten hours. Normally I wake up at around 7ish, but today I slept until 10.30am. I’m not sure why, but getting back on the treadmill (at the gym, not a metaphor) is impacting my body more than I expected.

I used to do this three or four times a week, so I am puzzled. I didn’t stop exercising per se during the period of recommended self-isolation. I don’t like to say locked down or quarantined. Indeed, I was voluntarily self-isolating.

Anyway, this feels a bit strange, but if there is one thing I have learned, or rather that I need to keep on learning daily, is that I need to listen to my body.

Example: last week, I had a sore throat for a few days, which I knew was a sign of being rundown. My Chinese doctor called it before I could even feel it. She asked whether I felt tired and I said no, I feel fine, my energy levels are okay. And boom, the next day I felt the familiar gulp in my throat.

There is ambiguity here. Truly, my body was starting to show signs of weariness but my soul’s energy levels are very high, sky-high. I am so full of desires, ambitions, for my life, my writing, my being in general. And then I am also dutiful, and boy, there are so many things I have to do for my work, my new company, my upcoming house move. Not even taking this website, writing, teaching or podcast into consideration.

I pride myself on my self-care. Meditation, yoga, movement, freshly home-cooked food, time off. I learned to make room for the right things in my life.

Yet, I might still be pushing things a bit too hard. After all, that is my old pattern, the one I developed in my earlier corporate career. That’s why I almost burned out. I read somewhere that it’s not the people who don’t care about the work that burn out. That makes so much sense. One of my core qualities is my enthusiasm, my passion. Indeed, my default mode is to throw myself into what I care about.

There is a struggle, daily, to find balance in life. That is true about me, and I think true for all of us.

When I think of this notion in a physical setting, in yoga asanas in particular,and I reflect on what it’s like to balance on one leg whether in tree pause of warrior three, here is what comes up for me:

My balance is not the same every day.

My mood affects my balance.

My capacity to be present affects my balance.

My focus, or drishti, affects my balance.

Muscle tensions affect how well I balance.

My core, or how strong my core is, might be the greatest support for my balance.

When I do feel strong in balancing pause, rooted, it feels amazing, almost like I am flying.

Patience and understanding, kindness: these are the qualities I call into myself today. I will have a nice yoga practice this afternoon and I’ll bring to the mat whatever energy levels I will have. And I’ll stop if I get too tired.

Trying to find the balance indeed between offering myself movement and the space to stop.

Let’s see if I can bring the same qualities to the rest of my day.

Rose planted on a sandy beach