Balance

elegant

Mechanical action or blind faith is not the purpose of a yogi.”

˜Swami Vishnu-devananda

I’ve decided that balance is just about the most elegant concept that we have.

In the system of hatha yoga or the physical practices of yoga, balance is sometimes referred to as “accomplishing the peculiar”.

Here’s what yoga teachings will typically say about balance: we are all seeking balance, sometimes in the wrong ways. Many of us seek to find balance between the masculine and feminine energies through relationship; however in yoga this balance is internal. We embody both. Yoga is really only about balance, though balance is not the end point. Balance only takes us to where we can transcend it. We can see this balance in many aspects of the practice: physical balance helping to still the mind and achieve meditation, balance in terms of our attitude towards life – not too disciplined, not too attached or emotional, not too hard/soft, sweetness/discomfort, certainly avoiding extremes. With respect to kundalini (embodied spiritual potential), it is achieving a balance between the solar and lunar energies within ourselves (literally the “ha” and “tha” of Hatha Yoga).

The human condition is that at any given moment either the solar energies, or lunar energies are predominant and this is why we are (generally) unable to experience enlightenment. Solar energies are connected to the flow of prana (let’s say ‘breath’ to simplify) in the right nostril and the left brain function. This is the ‘pingala nadi’ (like a meridian in Chinese medicine).  Lunar energies are connected to the flow of prana in the left nostril and right brain function. This is the ‘ida nadi’.

A lot has been written about left and right brain function. We know that the left brain hemisphere is generally responsible for more rational, cognitive functioning, and that the right brain hemisphere is considered the creative, spontaneous, artistic. We can also extend to say left brain represents the western mind, right brain the east.

I’m not sure that I truly understand what balance means to me, and I am not suggesting I yet embody ‘balance’, but at least I can work on it. Here’s what I am starting to feel, and I do not see this represented in the teachings of yoga, so I am questioning whether it is ‘yoga’ or not. I don’t know. There are actually two types of balance, internal and external. Internal balance is about finding middle ground between two opposites, as we find in the path of kundalini. External balance, finding balance with other people and with the world around us is more about finding that which is similar but which has the tools to elevate us and to bring us to a higher place. The elegance of balance, I think is reaching out and finding that our support is indeed there. Is internal balance necessarily more important than external? I don’t know. I think there is a certain beauty with finding balance with the world around us. Does yoga include this external balance?

Robert Svoboda’s guru, Vimalanda has said that today few Westerners will experience kundalini because their practice lacks spontaneity. According to him, Indians lack discipline and westerners lack spontaneity. As yogis we can either reject the world around us, or accept it. I think balance is somewhere in this acceptance. Like the lotus flower growing out of the muck, but floating above it.

Pranams,

jjz

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