Blog posts

Balance through yoga breath work.

Pranayama or yoga breath work can help to balance us out as we move towards our midlife transformation.

Breathing is simple, gracious, soothing and always there for you.

Karenina Ana Murillo.

There are many different types of pranayama we can immerse in, but the process I have selected for balance is nadi shodhana pranayama – or alternate nostril breathing.

This form of pranayama is said to help balance the nadis – tube, channel or flow, almost like meridian channels.

Yoga practice to ground and balance.

We have been immersed in grounding practise through yoga recently. What better way to put the wisdom, movement and breath practise into one yoga movement practise?

Below, I have put together a few short snippets of yoga practise for you. Follow the practise in sequence, or just whichever works for you based on your time and convenience.

As a preamble, check you have a quiet space and about at least ten minutes free. Have a good yoga mat, have a towel handy, and also some cushions or more towels if you have knee issues. For other struggles or challenges you may have, email me and I will do my best to help.

Best yoga poses for balance.

Would you be super surprised if I told you the best yoga poses for balance are standing balance poses? I thought not!

Further to our discussion on the Earth element / prthvi previously, standing balance poses really helps us to get grounded and balance at the same time. From personal experience, when I am a little less grounded, or when I am running ahead of myself, or when I lack inertia, my standing balance is shaky or unstable, and sometimes just doesn’t happen. So let’s not even think about arm balances or inversions!

Seriously, standing balance yoga poses are good indicators of how balanced we are in life or for that day. There is no scientific proof of this, but yoga is a little beyond science, it’s also experiential. If you are already practising, try it and see (and let me know in the comments of your experiences!).

In addition, as we grow older, the more important it is to be able to balance. If you think about it, we are always in balancing when we walk or run, because we always have one foot off the ground. As we age, this becomes a greater challenge when we stumble or have less coordination.

Yoga to help you balance.

As we ground and prepare for our transformation through yoga in our midlife, it is always good to have balance. Balance is one of the most skilful capacities we hope to cultivate in yoga, and it is crucial for grounding, letting go and expansion / manifestation.

Yoga philosophy is great when it comes to finding that middle ground to between inertia and being inert when it comes to our midlife awakening through yoga.

Santosha / Contentment.

From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we have second rung of the Eight-Limb Yoga Path – or Ashtanga Yoga, namely the niyamas. The niyamas guide us towards a more positive and skilful relationship with ourselves. Only once we form a good connection to ourselves, we may in turn form positive and enduring relationships with others.

One of the elements or capacities of the niyamas is santosha – or ‘contentment’. Being content actually is far more difficult than we may think. Even in our everyday life, we have thoughts about ‘how the day may be better if…’ and in life, ‘how we may be happier if…’ It’s bound to pop up, at least now and then – we are after all only human.

Meditation to move forward.

While. we ground to move forward, we also need to be open to let go. While we will be looking at letting go as a capacity much more extensively later, we can begin to loosen any gripping we have right now as we ground to move forward.

While I am much more practised as a yoga teacher, I also am a reiki healer. One of the preparations for reiki healing is a mantra meditation that helps to liberate us from unskilful capacities that usually grip us throughout the day.

The meditation uses the Five Principles of Reiki by Dr. Mikao Usui, and you too can use it in your meditations for transformative change in your (mid)life. Before we begin, however, let’s take a look at each of the principles in turn.

Moving forward with yoga poses.

If ever there was a time we need to realise that the body and mind are so closely interconnected, it is the time we decide to move forward. The mind is in the body, after all, and the mind tells the body what to do, and the body even can tell the mind how to feel!

Our bodies speak to us. They tell us how and what to feel and even think. They change what goes on inside our endocrine systems, our autonomic nervous systems, our brains, and our minds without our being conscious of a thing.

Amy Cuddy. “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges”.

We have always know this in yoga, and other physical fitness modalities. The body and the mind cannot be separated – how we hold ourselves, move and breathe actually show the world how we perceive ourselves.

Why is this important when we decide we want a change, and want to move forward? Because we need to convince – not just the world – but ourselves that we are more than capable of accomplishing our goals. And in holding ourselves physically in ways that support our plans to move forward, we actually do move forward!

Yoga to move forward.

When we seek transformation or change, we need good grounding, and the grounding steps we take also requires the capacity to move forward. While many consider yoga “just exercise” or “just stretching”, the philosophy underpinning the ‘exercise’ and ‘stretching’ is key – otherwise, it really isn’t ‘yoga’ as such, it is really is just exercise and just stretching.

There are quite a number of helpful philosophical resources in yoga that helps us to move forward in our plans for transformation. All of them require reflection, so all of them require courage on our part.

There is nothing harder than looking within ourselves and discovering things we never knew while peeling the layers. So while we remain open in hearts and minds, we also should be gentle with ourselves. Just so long as we move forward.

Move forward – you may end up at the beach.

I love travel – experiencing new places, observing new cultures – even if it’s in my own country. In fact, sometimes, travelling domestically is great because it gives me the opportunity to see my own country and experience cultures hidden away in the villages and countryside, cultures that belong to me as a citizen of this space.

Because of the two years of pandemic, travel has been difficult though. In the beginning of 2021, I had planned to go for a short break to Cameron Highlands, a hill resort area in Malaysia, with my partner, Eddy. Unfortunately, due to the torrential rains of the monsoon season, we decided to cancel the trip. It was just as well because a few days later, there was a tremendous landslide that caused some devastation and isolation to the hilltop town.

This year, we decided to head to Desaru, on the east coast of the peninsula in December. As expected, the torrential rains came again, but surprisingly it didn’t hit the east coast at the time we had planned.

Meditation for grounding.

This short meditation practice brings our awareness entirely to our feet. The process is meant to help us have distance from grippings that may cause us to struggle – whether we are seeking change, or whether arising from daily life.

Begin by finding a time when you’re not likely to be interrupted, have your mobile devices either turned off, or on silent, or best yet, not with you at all. Have the place as bright or as dark as you like, provided you are comfortable. Then sit down whether on a chair with feet on the floor, or on your meditation cushion or mat with legs crossed.