Strength & Flexibility: 5 Tips for Finding Balance Off The Mat

May 16, 2018


A regular yoga practice reminds us that without flexibility, strength is useless. It also reminds us that without strength, flexibility is dangerous and destabilizing. The key is finding balance. This applies not only to the asana practice, but should also reach beyond the physical. Below are 5 tips to help you find your balance off the mat.



1. Don't Take Any Guff.


Stand up for yourself. You know who you are and what you want. Don't let anyone else steer the boat. Knowing your limits will keep you on your course and in line with your Dharma. It will help you always follow your true self, and prevent you from compromising so far that you wake up one day and wonder who you are. Occupy the space your body takes up and know that you have the right to do so.


“I took a deep breath and listened

to the old brag of my heart.

I am, I am, I am.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar



2. Show Some Compassion


Take a moment to breathe, step outside of your own point of view, and try to see the other side of an issue. Many people get so caught up in their feelings and little dramas that they don't take the time to see something objectively or to place themselves in another's shoes. Your point of view is not the most important. I promise. 



3. Learn To Listen


Helping someone feel heard is the quickest way to de-escalate a conflict and to begin to bridge gaps in communication. Failure to truly see others is the root of many of the negativity or feelings of disconnection we often experience today. Think: what is this person trying to communicate? What are their struggles right now? Are they angry, afraid, sad?


4. Complain Less, Manifest More


Sit in any cafe, restaurant or public place, and it's not hard to overhear people talking about all the things (and people) they don't want in the world. Why not spend more energy creating what you do want? Find something irritating? First, check your First World Problems at the door, and then ask: How can you improve it? Are you wasting energy whining about the traffic (take the bus) or gossiping about a coworker (searching for people to validate your judgments on others)? Don't spill all that delicious tea, drink it! Conserve your energy and strength. Use it to fuel the change you want.


5. Learn To Listen


This one's really important. Reaching out to someone with a thoughtful attitude, open heart, and a humble perspective is critical in a time filled with political, religious, and emotional violence. Technology provides an anonymity which relieves us of the responsibility of being held truly accountable for our words. We can say so much so fast that we rarely pause to consider its usefulness. We are not present enough with ourselves and others. Let go of your need to be smarter, more righteous, or more spiritual. Remember that you are listening to a conversation someone else is having with their Great Spirit, through you. Don't forget: you are also talking to yours, through them.



Check out this video for Five Ways to Listen Better

Julian Treasure | TEDGlobal

In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world around you.

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