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“Every extreme has an opposite; yoga brings us into balance.” This was the moment when I realized why I see yoga as an important element of my life. All my life I believed that in everything we do, there should be balance. I don’t like exaggerations or extremes. In every word we say, in every reaction we give, in everything we love, and even hate, I believe there is a balance. The universe is in balance. In nature, when there is poison, there is also an antidote, and our life is like a balancing pose. It is like walking on a tight rope. Sometimes we get distracted and we fall from the rope, that’s fine. Some time later we get back on the rope, but we shouldn’t give up on walking on the rope, seeking the balance.
This reminds me of one of Philippe Petit’s memories that he shared during a talk. (Philippe Petit is a French high-wire artist who became famous when he did his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in New York City). He explains how he didn’t give up on walking on the wire in a performance between the Jewish and Muslim quarter, where in the middle of the wire, he wanted to release a dove as a symbol of peace. But the bird didn’t fly away, instead it landed on his head, on the bar he was holding and even on the wire but he didn’t give up. He proceeded with his performance.
For most of the people, this figuratively walking on the rope is scary because the moment when you can freely walk on the rope is the moment when you let go off yourself and live in the present. Between past and future, balance is in the present time. Unfortunately, some people have already given up walking on a rope. They have fallen so many times that they don’t want to try it anymore, and that’s why they give unbalanced reactions. There is an enormous gap between how much they hate something and how much they love something. They exaggerate things and that’s why it becomes almost impossible to see the truth both for them and for us. When the gap between low and high is so big, there is extremism. Isn’t the whole world suffering from it right now?
Yoga is the reminder for us to keep our balance. Do you remember the first time when your yoga teacher told you to put your feet down on the floor EQUALLY and to feel all the edges of your feet? It is interesting to realize that most of the time we tend to lean onto the one side of the body. Mostly it is unconsciously done, we are unconsciously unbalanced. In yoga we learn that breathing is very important for balance poses, but most of us still tend to hold the breath. We think that for balance we need to be steady and breathing makes us unstable. Actually, we don’t have to be steady, and it is not the breathing that makes us unstable, it is our ‘monkey mind’ that constantly says those things. We are living, breathing organisms, not statues, and that’s why it is okay to be a bit shaky. As long as we can focus on our breath, the body will find its way to be in balance.
Constant yoga practice will bring balance to our body, and we can expand this balance to our life. A balanced life will lead us to the truth.