I panic when my yoga instructor begins to guide our class through the Tree pose. I'm flexible. But I struggle with keeping my balance on the mat and in my day to day life.
"Stand thus like a tree on the ground. This is called "Vriksha-asana", say's the Yoga Sutra's.
I stand up straight and place my right foot on my left thigh. I let go and my body begins to sway before my hands can say "Namaste". Next comes the anxiety about swaying. Then the falling. Like many times before, I retreat into the resting position on my mat. But in my mind, I'm still falling.
Life can often feel like walking a tightrope, each of us trying to our best to keep our footing. I used to believe living in balance meant struggling to walk this tightrope without swaying. Now I understand that the more we struggle to remain in balance, the less we really are.
Living in balance is not the ability to maintain a state of harmony that requires us to give every area of our lives equal portions of our time and energy. It's not the ability to juggle our careers, our families, our friends, our health, our faith, and our dreams without ever dropping a ball. Instead, like a tree in the wind, we sway, having the presence of mind to do whatever needs to be done at that moment to stay on the rope. Sometimes working, sometimes playing, sometimes resting, sometimes giving, sometimes receiving, sometimes loving others, and sometimes loving ourselves.
Like all lessons we fail to master, I return to yoga practice and the same challenge presents itself.
"Stand thus like a tree on the ground".
I stand up straight and place my right foot on my left thigh. I let go. I sway. But I don't fall.