CAIRO - 10 May 2017: When you think of balance, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it a memory of how you fall over in the silliest of times? Is it a desire to stand on one leg? Or do you think of things like moodiness, sleeplessness and weight gain?
Much like anything, balance is a multidimensional state that impacts the body, mind, emotion and spirit. In today’s world, we are well trained to think of balance in terms of work-life balance. You may call yourself a workaholic or a social butterfly and seek to find balance. But the question is how?
In my journey as a yoga teacher and social entrepreneur, I have often struggled to find balance. I find myself often swaying from side to side, at times I feel highly energetic, creative and communicative and at other times I feel withdrawn, fatigued and uninterested.
On the very physical level, I have noticed that a lack of balance manifests in sleeplessness or drowsiness, a desire to use food as a stimulant or to have little appetite, a desire to overexercise or to lie in bed, like a couch potato mindlessly watching TV, sudden weight gain or weight loss.
On a mental level, I have noticed that a lack of balance affects my concentration and alertness. Have you ever found yourself in a meeting with the full intention to make your best effort yet you cannot hear the person talking? You cannot communicate things that you know? You become forgetful?
One of our tools to counter such an imbalance can become excessive planning, creating many to-do lists and overscheduling. While, you might think that you are applying useful tools to manage your day, in actuality you feel so out of balance that you need to feel in control and so you think using these tools is the answer. On an emotional level, it becomes tricky.
Have you ever experienced the feeling of the wind brushing against your skin? Or heard the twittering of birds in the sky? I find that when I am balanced, I am more able to feel with senses and take pleasure in what I can hear, see, smell and taste. But when out of balance, I feel a numb and become a little robotic. I do things because it is in the routine or on my to- do list, rather than acting on my feelings. When my feelings are ignored, then emotions start to build and they catch me by surprise in the most relaxed situations. Next time, pay attention to what happens to your emotions when you are out of balance?
On a spiritual level, you can feel totally disconnected, unable to pray, to ask, to receive, to communicate with God. It is at these moments that you mechanically move through a prayer or spiritual reading.
I have personally experienced these moments manifesting in a need to finish as quickly as possible or an intense boredom and as a result I feel that the effect of prayer is diluted and diminished.
So what are the remedies of imbalance? Well that really depends on your state . . . here are some suggestions:
•Fatigue rest/sleep/pranyama (breathing)/meditate
•Sleeplessness left nostril breathing/chamomile tea, melatonin, magnesium.
•Sudden weight gain/bloating/constipation gentle walks/drink water and herbal teas/yoga/take a break from work
•Poor concentration/alertness right nostril breathing/breath of fire/ginseng/evaluate your sleep/assess caffeine and sugar intake
•Drowsiness/low energy 4 by 4 segmented breath/green tea/a few dates
•Overeating remove sugar and dairy from your diets/eat fruits throughout the day/drink water, herbal teas and eat leafy green foods
•Mood swings daily pranyama sequence for emotional balance and gaining perspective/daily long, deep breathing exercises
•Disconnected to spirit get on your knees/bow/child pose/ask for help
By Shama Kaur
Sandra ShamaKaur - Yoga