How good is your balance?
Mine isn’t as good as I’d like it to be – and since it’s an important element of healthy aging, I’ve started paying attention to it.
This morning, I did some yoga that required quite a bit of time spent balancing on one leg – something that traditionally means I simply spend most of my time falling over. But this morning, the instructor said, “Think of you foot as a tripod. There’s the ball of your big toe, the ball of your little toe, and your heel. Notice if you can feel each of these points making contact with the floor and let it stabilise you.”
It was advice I hadn’t been given before. I’d always been told to control my gaze, to “Pick a point across the room and focus your eyes there to stabilise you.” The change to the ‘tripod’ concept made all the difference. I still lost my balance a couple of times, but not nearly as frequently, and I felt far more stable whist in the pose.
Later, I listened to a podcast where the guest talked about how so many of us have lost touch with our bodies. We don’t know what we’re feeling or how we’re doing unless we’re wearing some sort of “tracking” device that tells us whether we slept well, whether we’ve moved enough, and whether our heart rate is elevated.
These two things together made me think about the difference we can create in our lives when we send our attention inwards rather than outwards in our efforts to manage our emotions.
What does this have to do with joy?
I’ve written about this a few times over the course of this blog series, but it’s something I’d do well to keep in the front of my mind: I do better when I take time to send my attention inwards, slow things down and let go of what’s happening around me.
Having learned how to find the stillness that’s always available inside me, I am no longer at the mercy of my circumstances in order to find peace and ease. For me, these are the baseline criteria for joy because without them, I am flailing.
I think a joyful existance requires as much quiet contemplation as you can fit into a day – reflection, meditation, writing, or just sitting and focusing on the breath can be the difference between being thrown around by life and being in command of it.