I went to yoga class yesterday. I am a new student to this ancient practice so I accept, with grace and humility, that my body cannot yet do what some of the students in class are capable of.
This is one of the many blessings of learning to love myself: I accept that I make mistakes, I fail and fall, forward (sometimes simultaneously).
If you saw me at yoga you would know what I mean. The teachers are kind and patient and always tell us to do what we feel our bodies are capable of, no less and no more. We were working on a few balance practices yesterday.
I am bad at balance; I always have been. I started wearing glasses before I was two and I know the balance issues are somehow related to that. I have always told myself there are some things I cannot do because I have balance issues: skiing—for example—is out, as is walking on a tightrope and jumping on a trampoline.
So when the instructor gave us a balance pose to practice—first with our eyes open and then with our eyes closed—my mind went immediately to “oh I can’t do that, I have balance issues”. Even before I tried, my mind had made it up that I would not succeed.
The teacher went on to explain why it was important to persist. She explained that when you close your eyes the brain is forced to fire up new neurons to make this happen.
This was especially important to know for the older women in the class because it would prevent falls. Apparently just practicing a minute a day will improve your balance.
Wow! I can do that. I can spend a minute a day rewiring my brain.
Here is my take away from the class. The paradox between spending just a few minutes a day practicing my balance to improve my future health is akin to taking a few moments each day to practice personal balance to improve my mental health.
Both are related to the other, both are essential. So, now that I am close to done here, I am going to pour myself a cup of hot tea and turn my brain off. Who knows, I might even spend a minute or two standing on one foot with my eyes closed.
Editor: Andrea B.