ach week as I meet with clients, hang out with friends and family or even when having light conversations in daily life, there seems to be an on-going theme: How do we find balance in life? We are all busy with work, kids, partners, families, school, volunteering, exercise, social engagements, business events, household chores, sports, remodels, pets, doctors appointments, book club, shopping, elderly parents, grandchildren ….on and on and on. I am sure you could add to this list. How often do you think (or say out loud?) “I can’t get everything done.” or “there’s only so many hours in the day.” or “I feel like I am neglecting __________”. It’s frustrating. It’s exhausting. It’s stressful. We KNOW this, yet we do it over and over again, week after week.
In yoga, we often talk about finding balance in our bodies, minds and spirits. It’s something that takes awareness and practice. Balance is something that we mindfully create for ourselves and our lives, so that we can be happier, more focused and productive, and have a greater sense of well being.
What does a balanced life look like to you?
Make a list of the things you would like in your life that are missing right now. These are things that you know will bring you joy, peace and inner and outer health, but you just don’t seem to get to them. Keep this list where you can see it every day. Maybe you could make a Vision Board of pictures that represent the things that you would like to bring in to your daily/weekly life.
Do I have your attention yet?
Your feet bear all your weight. If your feet are out of alignment, your whole body is out of alignment. A habitual turnout of your feet indicates weak inner thighs with stronger outer thighs. Do you have chronic soreness of the PIRIFORMIS? (this is the deep buttock muscle that helps rotate the hip to turn the leg out) When the Piriformis is overused, it can spasm and create sciatica.
The good news is……..these are imbalances that you can FIX!
Try this: Stand in front of a full length mirror. Note how your feet naturally landed. Are they aligned, or in the V-shape?
** Now try this: Position your feet about 1 1/2-2 fist widths between your arches. Spread your toes wide and check to see that they are facing forward, then be sure that you are equally weighting all 4 corners of your foot (like a brick): the big toe and little toe, the inner heal and the outer heal. Stand tall and see that your legs are under the hips, and energetically rotate the thigh bones out to bring your knees into alignment. How does this feel? Now try walking, as though straight ahead, taking shorter steps if you have a long stride. Stop, and check your foot position again.
Bringing awareness to your posture, your stance and your gait is key. Practice. At first it will feel very strange, but eventually, you will have adopted a new, healthier habit and your body will be in better balance!!
Here are a few suggestions that might help you to find balance:
- Disconnect: one day a week (or even a few hours) Turn off the phone and computer an put them out of sight. Then, notice what happens! Perhaps you will pick up a book you’ve been wanting to read, or take a walk with your child, or take a nap, or pull out the paints in the back of the closet and create a masterpiece!
- Say NO. It’s not a bad word. Really. Saying NO (without the need for a reason or excuse) merely sets a boundary for yourself so that you don’t over schedule. It’s ok to say NO.
- EXERCISE! Every. Single. Day. Are you getting outside for fresh air and sunshine (wear your sunscreen!) Are you stretching? Working your muscles? Sweating? It’s not only essential for your physical health but also your mental health
- Learn something new. Take a class. Pottery? Dance? Philosophy? Candle making? Challenging our brains will keep us alert and interesting!
- Nurture your spirit and soul. This could be attending religious services, reading poetry, taking a Restorative Yoga class, hiking, meditating, spending time quietly in nature or any activity that fills your heart.
- Find time to be by yourself, quiet and still. Reconnect with YOU!
- Find time to connect with others. Play a game, watch a movie, chat, look at old pictures, cook a meal together.
- ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (fill in the blank with an idea that you could implement into your life to bring more balance)
Balance in our Bodies:
Are you Walking like a Duck? (no, really, are you?)
As a long time Pilates instructor and a new Yoga instructor, we are trained to teach our students and train our clients to balance their bodies. It’s all about alignment and posture. Imbalances in our bodies can lead to more physical ailments.
Next time you are at the beach walking in the sand, look down and notice the footprints. Do you see a lot of V-shaped prints? Are these your footprints? Walking like a duck is a real thing, and I see it. A lot. Our bodies were not designed to walk this way.
Walking like a duck (feet in V Pattern) is a result of muscle imbalance between the anterior and posterior muscles of the hips, thighs and possibly trunk. It also could be caused by poor posture and a lot of sitting. If you have adopted a posture with an increased anterior tilt (hips tipped forward) your external rotators get overworked and tight, and the glutes and abs cannot work properly. This puts tremendous pressure on the knees and all the ligaments and cartilage are placed in an extremely vulnerable position. In turn, the stress to your bones and joints and muscles can cause back pain, shin splints, bunions and also put you at risk for injury and definitely affects your performance in any sport that you may enjoy.
Our October event was AHHHHmazing with a beautiful sound bath during savasana. Big thank you to Cary Ballou for sharing her talent with us and providing a very beautiful experience. You can find her on MINDBODY under Shanti Sound to see her upcoming schedule of events.
Here’s to Creating Balance in our lives! Stay well and remember, we are stronger together!