Is Your Life in Balance?
One of the most critical aspects of our life is our balance. How often we take for granted this, as we stand upright or move down the street and don’t fall over. I can see how this can be taken for granted as it is easy to balance this way as we have practiced since our toddler years. However, how easy is it for you to stand on one leg and not stagger? Take a moment and try. Try the other leg, did it get any easier?
This past week I began a refocus on balance in my life. In the simplest form I pulled out a couple blocks and a 2x4 that was in my storage and set them up in my house. I stood the blocks up and set the 2x4 across giving me an elevated balance beam no more than 15” off the ground. This was my location to work on balance. However, physical balance was not the only thing and should not be the only thing to work on it. This weekend out of pure coincidence I watched The Karate Kid, yes the 1984 hit. In it Mr. Miyagi was training Daniel-san and comes to a lesson on balance. I had to copy down the lines because it is so true.
Mr. Miyagi, “You remember lesson about balance?”
Mr. Miyagi, “Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance.”
I’ll come back to that, but I found it perfect for what many of us are missing. We all have crazy amounts of imbalance in our lives as we are trying to sort out stressors, choices, diet, and so on. However, what I want to stress the most is one that is the easiest to work on. That being our physical balance. Our bodies have so many stabilizing muscles that do wonders for our overall health and are so often overlooked in our lives. Thereby making a practice of working on our balance so crucial.
For myself, I have worked a considerable amount over the past year on my balance ever since my deep dive into natural movement and my eventual certification from MovNat. It was amazing the different ways to which I could focus on my balance and the muscles I would feel worked that I never knew I had. What was even better than the increased sense of balance, was what it did for pre-existing injuries such as my bulged disc in my neck.
Balance practice can come in many ways from simply standing on the flat ground on one foot and focusing on stabilization, to hand foot crawling across a thin board. This week I took to standing with two feet, standing on one foot, and sitting on the raised 2x4 to get my mind back on track. From here I will begin to get into the hand foot crawl position (See below picture for example) and even pin point landing on the board from a jump. These exercises will train my mind to focus on my center of gravity, work the muscles which stabilize my body, and balance my mind as well.
Take today to start yourself. Throughout your day take time to try and balance along a line on the ground, find a raised platform and balance on one foot, or simply stand on one foot. A tip to help with your balance is to pick a spot about 3 feet or so in front of you and focus on that spot as you work on your balance. This point provides a center for your attention and can do wonders. As you progress in your ability to stand still begin moving forward, backwards and even give the crawling a try. Don’t be discouraged if you find the hand foot crawl difficult because it is. The simple act of crawling uses a ton of muscles to stabilize your body.
Dedicate a little each day to center your body and get back your balance. As you do this you may find it a little easier to find some balance in other parts of your life or the drive to do so. Because as Mr. Miyagi continued,
“Whole life have a balance.”
“Everything be better.”
“Go find the balance.”