The kidneys, the organ related to winter in Traditional Chinese Medicine, when in balance help us express and emanate a sense of calm, clarity and peace. I am calm, I am peaceful and I am clear sings like a mantra in my brain, vibrating all the cells of my body until I can feel my kidneys smile. As I attempt to sit quietly, a storm of change, challenge and excitement swirl around me. Maintaining a feeling of contentment and ease is not easy. I soothe myself into alignment with the feelings I want more of by turning my attention to all things comforting like; hot cocoa, good music and yoga. What feelings are you focused on and want to emphasize? What soothes you? What comforts you?
I have been using balance poses from yoga to help soothe myself back into alignment. Literally aligning the body with gravity builds strength and focus. The sustained effort to center and re-center without falling brings not only our flesh and bones into balance but also our nerve impulses, thoughts, emotions, and consciousness. It creates a sense of calm.
I have found that equilibrium brings equanimity.
Consider adding a balance pose to your next morning or evening stretch…you are stretching, Right!? or most importantly, include more of anything that comforts you. Here’s a progression of balance poses from easy to more challenging:
Balancing Table: This pose is a great Back Strengthener. Start on your hands and knees. On an exhale raise one hand and opposite knee off the ground reaching them to the opposite ends of the room. Hold about thirty seconds and repeat on the other side. Think of contracting the Glutes and the Trapezius with an emphasis on balancing the opposing forces of each limb equally.
Single Leg Standing Balance:Start standing and gently lift one leg, hold onto the knee or let the leg float in the air. Hold for 30 seconds each side. Focus on one point in front of you for greater stability. To challenge yourself further, try closing one eye or both eyes. For an easier alternative, practice against a wall.
Warrior III lean the upper body forward while raising one leg back and up. Take the hands out sideways or straight in front of you as you push through the heels, toes or ball points of the feet. 30 seconds each side.
“A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others is stronger than any physical force in the universe.”
–Wayne W. Dyer