I used to be very “extreme”. If I was going for something, I’d go all out.
No sugar! No fat!
Study non-stop all night!
Run until exhaustion!
Vigorous vinyasa yoga every single day!
Save every penny!
Spend every single waking moment with my kids!
For some reason, this way of life just wasn’t working out for me. Take running for example. Running felt so good at first. I could feel my body getting lighter and faster and it was great. I started with 5K runs, but then I needed 10K runs, and eventually I needed half marathons. But my joints started bothering me and I noticed after my long runs on Saturdays, I had to take really long naps. Actually, I felt really horrible after my long runs (even after my naps), and my family complained that I wasn’t really “with” them on those days. I thought that running long distances would make me healthier and happier – what was wrong?
When I first started practicing Yin Yoga, I was regularly practicing Vinyasa Yoga almost every single day. I was drawn to Yin right away because I found that it was opening up my hips and I was noticing the difference in my Vinyasa practice. I also noticed how lovely it felt to “take a break” from Vinyasa and how just lying on the floor felt so good and so “right”. Could it be that finding a healthy balance of a challenging vigorous practice along with a loving and slow paced meditative Yin practice be the key to health and happiness for me? It was only through Yin Yoga that I learned how “moderation in everything” can keep us feeling good. Eventually, I discovered how to use this in everyday life.
Some running is very healthy, and for me sticking with 5K runs are best for my body. I am sure that for some of you running a 10k or half marathon is finding balance for you and best for your body. Maybe this is all about finding the right balance for each of us, as we are all unique human beings.
If you can see the yin/yang symbol above, notice how on the white swirl there is a little black dot. On the black swirl, there is a little white dot. Nothing is meant to be completely yin or completely yang. Just like our lives, we are not meant to go 100% all out. The joy in life is finding the lovely mix of running and rest, of Vinyasa and Yin. To have a little sugar is okay, but if we eat too much sugar we become unhealthy. To spend a lot of time with my kiddos gives me so much joy, but I still need my “mom time” away from them too.
In finding a balance, we “feel good” in life and are healthier and happier. The more we can care for ourselves the more we can care for others. Our loved ones will thank us for finding this sweet mix of Yin and Yang.
Just remember that we are always on the path. Take time to enjoy the journey every day. And maybe, just maybe the journey of finding balance is joy.