Do You Have Balance?
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of balance? For me, and, (I suspect) for many others, balance first sparks thoughts of something physical. In yoga, I often think of balance as my ability to hold poses like vrksasana (tree pose) or natarajasana (dancer pose). My thoughts instinctively drift toward a concept that is a matter of muscle-bone alignment and careful poise.
Yet, in light of the chakra and whole foods workshops being hosted at Your Yoga Louisville this month, there are other important aspects of balance that need to be taken into consideration.
Our initial response of thinking about balance in terms of a muscular activity is a good start, but it’s not a complete picture, especially when we think of balance more broadly as a condition in which different elements are in correct proportion with each other. For example, we often talk about having a work-life balance, a balanced diet, or refer to managing multiple responsibilities as a balancing act. In each case, balance isn’t a matter of strength, but a matter of proportion and alignment within our lives.
Finding Balance in Your Energy
Moving inward and looking at ourselves, we know that our bodies and minds try to regulate and maintain balance as well. This is most evident when something is out of balance. We notice almost immediately. If we don’t have balance between our activity level and our time in stillness, we may feel stiff or lethargic. If our temperature tips too high or too low, we either sweat or shiver to try and get it where it needs to be. When something in our body is out of balance, we notice because it has significant impacts on our lives.
The same is true of our energies, and the energy pathways, or chakras, that run through our bodies. Whether you believe chakras to be actual centers of energy or simply symbolic representations of facets of personal well-being, reflecting upon each chakra and its correspondences can be an effective way to reclaim inner balance in your life.
The chakras are most often depicted as colorful orbs running along the length of the spine, from its base to the crown of the head, as seen in the image below.Starting at the base of the spine and moving upward, the chakras are:
- The Root Chakra, Muladhara, which deals with stability and feeling grounded.
- The Sacral Chakra, Svadisthana,which deals with our connection with others and our ability to accept new people and experiences.
- The Solar Plexus Chakra, Manipura, which governs feeling confident and in control of our lives.
- The Heart Chakra, Anahata, which is the seat of our ability to love and be open with others.
- The Throat Chakra, Visuddha, which concerns our ability to communicate.
- The Third Eye Chakra, Ajna, which deals with our intuition and ability to see the bigger picture.
- The Crown Chakra, Sahasrara,which represents the ideal of fully connected spirituality.
These seven places of energy (or prana) throughout the body give us an opportunity to visualize and reflect upon various aspects of our personal well-being and state of balance. When explored and meditated upon, they can allow us to feel our energy flowing freely throughout our body, giving us a sense of alignment and balance in our daily lives.
Finding Balance in Your Gut
As the body, mind, and spirit are intricately connected, our energy and sense of balance is also affected by the foods we use to fuel our bodies. That’s one of the major reasons Your Yoga Louisville is hosting a Whole Foods Nutrition Workshop on August 27th, which will discuss dietary practices, provide sample recipes, and help get you started on your whole foods journey.
Whole foods refers to naturally occurring food that has been processed or refined as little as possible, and is free from additives or artificial substances. Studies suggest that with a whole foods diet, your body is taking in more beneficial vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, and beneficial fats and fatty acids than with processed foods. At the same time, you’re taking in fewer toxins and additives that have been linked to inflammation, digestive-issues, and other health concerns.
By eating a whole foods diet, your body is fueled more efficiently. Many people even report having higher energy levels and a better mood when eating exclusively whole foods, which makes sense when you consider the connection between digestive health and mental health. In essence, a happier gut makes for a happier mind.
In this way, eating a diet of whole foods makes it easier to pursue balance in other areas of your life. If you feel better and more energized, you’ll be more capable of sorting out the other aspects and opening up space for balance.
Need a Little Help Finding Balance?
Just imagine all that you could accomplish if your life was a little better balanced! Be sure to check out our August workshops to get started in the right direction. More information about the workshops and registration can be found here on the Your Yoga Louisville website.