This last week has had a common thread running through my classes....BALANCE!
Balance in life, like a good work/life balance. Balance in ensuring that both the right and left, front and back, top and bottom of the body are equally balanced in strength, range of motion and co-ordination. And also physical balance ie being able to hold in a balanced pose like Warrior III.
In future blogs I will be chatting about the other types of balance. But today I wanted to talk about how Covid gave me an opportunity to bring a healthy work / life balance into play and how we should not wait for a pandemic to bring balance to our lives.
Balance in your life can be a number of things - it could be (as mentioned above) a work / life balance, but it could be a balanced diet, a balance between being a 'giver' and a 'taker', the balance between listening and being heard. There is literally balance in everything! When we are too far on one side of the scale, it can really throw us emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Therefore finding a good balance is truly a gift that is worth fighting for.
For me personally my lack of balance was particularly in my work / life area....
In the lead up to everything shutting down early in 2020 I had started feeling trapped in my routine. Each week I would teach at my home studio, then run from gym to gym, corporate client to corporate client and then back to my home studio to teach classes there again. My work day was starting at 8am and ending at 8pm, 22 classes a week, 6 days a week. As much as I loved every class, I was tired. I was frustrated as the gaps between classes didn't allow me enough time to actually start and finish any personal activity which resulted in feelings of failing as a Mum and wife. I know many of you will be able to relate to this because before Covid, I believe STRESS from 'not enough hours in the day' was the silent pandemic taking over the world.
To be fair to myself, I did start making some changes before Covid hit... I knew that the issue was my schedule, yet giving up any of my classes didn't seem like an option as I adored all my students and felt I would be letting them down if I left. Instead I focused on fixing the symptom (frustration) and not the cause (my schedule). I began meditating and bringing a lot more energy work and spiritualism (not religion) into my Yoga practice which really was a game changer. Although I was dealing with the symptom, these two things brought me much serenity and calm. I stopped feeling so trapped and instead was able to re-energise through these practices and embrace my schedule for what it was. I felt so strongly (and still do) about the benefits of these practices that I started a stress relief program at one of my corporate clients and co-hosted a one day Yoga and Meditation Retreat which I plan on doing again. I truly believe that because of these practices I was able to move through the coming changes that Covid brought with less anxiety and stress.
Covid brought with it much hardship for a huge amount of people around the world; for many people however it also brought an opportunity to make the changes in their lives that was needed. I was fortunate enough that we weren't negatively effected in health or finances personally or within our immediate circle - for this I am immensely grateful and don't take lightly just how lucky we have been. Because I didn't have these added stresses, the shut downs actually afforded me the time and opportunity to bring the balance that I really needed and wanted.
First of all I changed my schedule and the mix of classes I was teaching (getting balance between cardio, strength, flexibility and meditation as I was teaching WAY too much cardio). Finally my schedule was what I had always intended it to be and with that brought much relief. It's amazing that when you give yourself some space to think, that you can find inspiration, passion and growth. When you are running at full speed all the time, it is hard to evaluate and plan, so you continue to run on the hamster wheel never feeling that you are quite accomplishing what you want to. Having the space to think and plan gave me the opportunity to take some courses, think about the direction I wanted to move in and then build my business in the direction that I had been toying with for two years ..... and also the added freedom gave me some much needed quality time with my family, especially my elder son who moved out of state a few months into the lockdown.
So for me Covid was a blessing in disguise (again no disrespect to those not as fortunate in this time) but it all started with an observation. For those of you who take my Yoga classes, a few weeks ago our practice was about self observation so we could be aware of our thoughts, emotions and actions that have become habit. The things we automatically tell ourselves, think about or do without even skipping a beat. These things are so automatic that we don't stop to even think that maybe these habits are holding us back. When we take time to observe we can make a conscious decision to keep or let go of certain things in our life. When however we are too busy, we forget or at least don't give ourselves time to observe and in turn make the decisions on what is no longer serving us. So although we are not talking about 'samskara' today (good and bad habits), it is worth taking this practice into account as we can only truly make changes when we know what needs changing - so that we don't just treat the symptom but get to the cause.
Making changes can be scary but that shouldn't be a reason for any of us not to make those changes, especially if the changes will result in a better balance for us. And it shouldn't take something as extreme as a pandemic to make that change.
So if you need to balance out any areas of your life, give yourself the gift of observation, honesty with yourself, and time to plan out how to go about getting what you want. It will be worth it in the long run.
Wishing you beautiful balance as you move through this interesting journey.