What does it mean to cultivate balance?

Mmmmh, the idea of feeling balanced sounds like a wonderful thought, doesn't it? It might elicit feelings of calm, ease, and having your sh*t together, right? Like, finding "work life balance" or being able to balance all the many demands of life. It's truly a calming thought. Yet.. it's not entirely realistic.

The word "balance" has been on my mind quite a lot lately, since the Spring Equinox. With the reality that on the equinox we found ourselves at a mid-point, a peak of sorts, where the day and the night was the same length. It's a swinging of the pendulum in the other direction. A breath of fresh air (figuratively and literally) of new, brighter, warmer, and rising energy. A balancing out of the colder and more still half of the Wheel of the Year. It's a really beautiful moment to re-calibrate. To shift gears, make some changes in the routine, cleanse out the stagnant energy and transform it into something different. So, yes balance is beautiful, helpful, and a necessary aspect to feeling whole.

Balance can, also though, bring in these expectations and unrealistic standards of having it all "together". I can not tell you the amount of times I've had someone say to me, within the context of learning that I teach yoga, "Oh gosh, I suck at yoga. I'm not flexible, and my balance is horrible." I often smile to myself when I hear this, because if you've practiced yoga, you know that when practicing a balancing pose, it's never a sure thing. It asks of you a great deal of patience, focus, and compassion around the very real fact that you will most likely wobble or have to dip your toe to the ground for a moment or use a wall or a chair as added support -- and that's okay! It's part of the practice and the process. Yes, some people are better at balancing poses than others, but I've never seen anyone cultivate balance in a class without a great deal of focus, attention, and slow breathing. So, there's no perfection or constant ease in it for anyone.

So, what would happen if you explored the idea of balance, without all the expectations around getting it right, being perfect, or having to be zen all the time? That instead of it being an end destination it's more of constant flow of being. I believe that cultivating balance can be practiced, without there being a specific end goal of what that might look like all the time. I see it as more of a spinning wheel of striving and resting, of creating and ruminating, of receiving and giving, of focus and detachment, of doing and being. There is literally movement within the process of balancing a scale. Balance is a really beneficial energy to embody, but it will inevitably be filled with imperfection, wobbles, and moments of needing to re-focus. It's all part of it.

There's a few different ways that I've really loved to dive deep into this theme. The first, was the really cool synchronicity that happened around all the butterfly symbology you've noticed me sharing this season and a recent podcast episode I was listening to a few weeks ago. The episode spoke about the idea of reciprocity seen in the life of a butterfly. My eyes widened when I listened to this, because it just seemed like too much of a coincidence that I was hearing these words at the time I did. Reciprocity is a beautiful balance between give and take, in order to benefit the greater whole. If we take a look at the life cycle of a butterfly, it starts as a caterpillar and really all a caterpillar does is eat and eat and continue to consume. They can actually, in excess, be quite detrimental to the ecosystem -- however, caterpillars turn into butterflies. Butterflies are incredibly supportive for the ecosystem, since they are pollinators -- they give back to their environment. We live in a society that is made up of a lot of caterpillar mentality. An individualistic society that is obsessed with consumerism.

I don't know about you, but the thought of staying in my cocoon is a very welcoming thought. It's cozy and quiet in there. But.... we need more butterflies. We need more collaboration, reciprocity, giving back to our communities, and lovely souls sharing their gifts, talents, and creativity, as well as supporting each other throughout that process. Whether that be on a large scale or on a tiny scale -- doesn't matter.. we need balance. It's essential to the ecosystem of our community.

During the Spring Equinox Circle (that some of you were a part of), Lisa Matthews also shared some words around how to find more balance around the idea of productivity. That in order to walk on the path towards creating + reaching your goals, there must also be balance between the doing and the being. Finding moments to pause, root, rest, decompress, reassess, and take it one step at a time. So, balance not only is essential as a whole, but it's also essential to the process of growth.

This week, we will dip our toes into this theme throughout the livestream and online yoga classes. You will be guided through balancing yoga practices and poses, in a supportive and compassionate way. Next week, we will continue the conversation around balance with the beginning of a journey through balancing your chakra system. This has been a journey I've been exploring in my own self-care practices surrounding a balancing approach to productivity, and I'm really excited to share it all with you.

Okay, I feel like that's a lot of musings, for now. So, for this week, I would invite you to just ponder on what balance might look and feel like for you -- maybe on your yoga mat or maybe in your life.

+ What does it mean, for you, to cultivate balance?

+ How could you embody the reciprocal and transformational energy of a butterfly?

+ Or maybe you're more into moths? The softer and quieter, lunar energy in moths, can be a beautiful energy to embody for us HSP folks. :)

P.S. For the earth-loving geeks here (welcome to the club lol, I'm one too), the image in the email banner this week is a butterfly that can actually be seen in many places of Southern Ontario & Quebec, and North-Eastern US around this time of the year. So keep your eyes peeled for one of these little dudes in your local wooded areas. It's called a Compton Tortoiseshell!

This week on YouTube -- In this accessible yin/yang yoga practice, you will be guided through movement and stillness practices to explore what balance can fully encompass -- its flow + ease, as well as, its imperfections + struggle. In this space we are all about nuance, and there's no perfect way to cultivate balance. I encourage you to get curious, and enjoy the experience. I hope that this practice serves you well.

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