With 60 years of living on this earth I am still amazed at the perfection of creation and the way everything is designed to work together for our good… if we only allow it. But we often think we know better. How many of our health problems today are created by bad habits and unhealthy choices? How have we damaged our mother earth by taking charge, tearing down, digging up, relocating and killing? Is the imbalance we see in our bodies and our earth a result of humans trying to redesign creation to meet our own, often selfish, needs?
So what got me thinking about this? Falling leaves. Some of you may know I live in a wooded area. We have trees — old trees and lots of them. Things fall from the trees — nuts, leaves, branches, occasionally an entire tree falls. We also have wildlife. This is their home too. But humans are not always good neighbors.
Right now we’re in the middle of the annual uproar over the falling leaves. There are people who want them out of here and as quickly as possible. I know this is a common practice, but why do we rake leaves out of our yards? And why burn them?
Leaves fall from the trees with a purpose. They cover and protect the ground over winter. They also decompose, nourishing the ground. It’s all part of divine design, But because we want perfectly manicured lawns we rake them up and burn them which causes us to add fertilizer to the grass and makes the air difficult to breathe.
When we mess with creation it pushes back. When we don’t take care of our bodies, they stop working as intended and we become ill. When we don’t take care of the earth it begins to become uninhabitable.
It’s time to come back home to who we were created to be. Only when we stop trying to control nature and learn to co-exist with her will we learn to live in balance and harmony.
When I say balance what do you think of? Do you think of keeping the physical body standing upright? That is one aspect of balance that we become more concerned with as we grow older and there are specific yoga poses that can help with that. Do you think of standing on one foot in some sort of extreme yoga pose? Or do you think of the balance of between body mind and spirit? This last aspect of balance is what I am talking about today.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word which means, “to yoke”, “to join” or “union.” This is why it is so important that we not take the physical poses and practice them alone, out of context as a form of physical exercise.
The balance that comes from the practice of yoga does not happen overnight. It takes time. There are so many things in our lives that can throw us out of balance. A consistent yoga practice based on the 8 limbs of yoga can help us find our way back to our true selves.
The balance that comes from the joining or union of body mind and spirit has been showing up in several ways for me. During the third year of my current practice I have been noticing a lowering of my blood pressure and heart rate, the relaxation of muscles which had always been tense, a great reduction in the “adrenaline overload” that was once my state of being and a very gradual weight loss. I am also calmer and tend to worry less. I have not been practicing yoga specifically for any of these things, but by dedicating myself to a regular practice and taking the teachings to heart my entire system has been moving toward greater balance.
So don’t worry about the perfect tree pose. Do the best your body can and you will find yourself coming into balance in more than just the physical sense.
It is easy to become so concerned about one area of life that we are pulled out of balance in others. What pulls us out of balance can be anything, including money, work, health concerns, fitness and even food. None of these things are necessarily bad, but when any one becomes the center of our lives we miss out on the fullness of life we were created to experience.
When we are being called to learn a new way of eating and living it is so easy to become with obsessed with what we are learning or what led us to the path we are on. It’s even possible to get caught up in focusing on sickness. Sometimes we have to pull ourselves out of this and consciously work toward balance again.
Living in balance is not a once and for all kind of thing. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were? We are constantly making adjustments to stay balanced. Think of it as walking a balance beam. We may lose our balance and even fall off the beam from time to time, but it is important to keep trying.