As yoga teachers and practitioners, we sometimes walk a fine line when balancing in our roles as teachers, students, and in our personal lives. My favorite definition of Yoga, shared with us by the late T.K.V Desikachar, is “to attain what was previously unattainable.” I’d like to offer this as a starting point in terms of examining balance in our day to day lives.
Through our practice, we discover new ways to both transform old habits and to conquer the tasks in our lives which seem daunting. The desire to attain what was previously unattainable, taking the steps to bring this desired balance into our lives, and the creating of space for this to manifest, IS yoga.
Teaching, which involves being fully present to whomever is front of us and sharing with them the practices we think would be most beneficial for them in this moment, offers us a tremendous opportunity to practice balance, and to practice Desikachar’s offered definition of yoga. When we recognize an opportunity to teach in a different way, or to offer a new practice to a student, we are practicing yoga. We can also teach in such a way that illustrates to the students in front of us that they, too, are doing yoga simply when they are learning how to attain now what they could not attain before.
In our personal lives, maybe we juggle raising a family, running our business, making time for self-care and our own practice, and a laundry list of other things. In this way, we have the opportunity to practice yoga when we realize that this list will never be done and realize that balance can come from a shift in perception. Kriya yoga, which states we make progress through practice, says that the quality of our action, and not the outcome of it, is our opportunity to practice yoga.
The invitation here is to realize that a mental shift may be needed. It is when this shift in understanding happens, of what yoga is, and what it could be, that we begin to align with an internal balance that is unshakable and isn’t dependent on outward control, organization, or to-do lists.
Photo Credits: Katherine Terra, Barbara Christopher