Whole Life Magazine

February / March 2017

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Conscious Media Festival March 3-5, 2017 Austin, TX www.consciousmediafestival.com B alance is fi rst and foremost a state of mind. Only once the mind itself is calm and centered will the body feel harmo- nious. If you try too hard to do any yoga pose you will end up tensing the mind and taking your- self off-center even before you even attempt a pose. But the perfectly centered mind achieves a state of dynamic balance even amidst diffi - cult circumstances. The practice of Ashtanga Yoga teaches you how to achieve the state of equanimity by creating scenarios in which you will feel totally out of whack. Almost ev- ery pose or asana in the Ashtanga Yoga method is so diffi cult that your fi rst attempt is nearly guaranteed to be disastrous. By learning to face diffi culty with a peaceful attitude the Ashtanga Yoga student learns how to maintain equipoise in tenuous circumstances. Headstand was one of the great- est teachers of balance for me. When I fi rst started the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga I remember falling out of the pose numerous times in every practice. In fact I rarely man- aged to stay in headstand for more than a few seconds before toppling over. At fi rst I was frustrated and I forced myself to try repeat- edly. One day I tried more than ten times and thought that if I willed myself hard enough I would somehow end up in the headstand. But truthfully, I was imbalanced to start off with. I was so attached to the idea of doing the pose that I didn't give myself time to explore the journey to the pose. I just wanted it too badly and my desire clouded my ability to be in balance. I equated the achievement of head- stand with being a yogi and falling out of headstand with failure at being a yogi. This attitude actually kept me further away from attaining balance than any physical limitation that I had. While I did need to develop a little more shoulder and core strength, if my mind could not fi nd a calm place of tranquility even if I made it up into the headstand I would still be, in es- sence, off balance. Each time I fell out of headstand took a chip out of my wall of pride. Each time I got back up and tried again the perfectionist in me soft- ened. It took me almost a full year of practice before I started to fi nd the balance in headstand. The key shift for me happened emotionally and mentally before it happened physi- cally. One day my perpetual falling just no longer bothered me. At fi rst I hated to fall and I suddenly just didn't mind at all. One day I simply let go of my attachment to ever do headstand. I replaced fervent desire for patience and tolerance. Instead of being forceful with myself, I learned to be kind with myself. In- stead of raging against my failure, I decided to love myself and my imperfections. I forgave myself and decided that I didn't care yoga & spirit SEEING THE WORLD FROM A NEW PERSPECTIVE Balancing Mind and Body in Headstand 20 wholelifetimes.com

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