The Pursuit of Balance

I have an addictive personality. For the most part, I’ve either been lucky enough or strong enough not to get into anything too bad – gambling, heavy drugs, etc… even when I had an alcohol and/or soft drug ‘problem’ it still wasn’t ever as bad as it could have been.

Hip Hop Dance Class with Danny Davalos

My latest addiction? Exercise. After giving up my aforementioned vices1, I just can’t get enough. It all started because Marie was tweeting about the progress she had made after two weeks of working out; she got me a guest pass her gym and the rest is history. I have been trying all sorts of classes2 and I can feel myself getting stronger every week. I remember feeling this way a few years ago when I first started really loving biking around the city3, and thus beginning my foray into exercise – yes, for the first time in my life.

Now more than ever though, I’m glad I started my fitness journey with years of practising Yoga. After several days of beating my body up through all sorts of different work-outs, I end up with all sorts of kinks in all sorts of places. Yoga, especially hot yoga, gives me a way to massage and stretch all those aching muscles and still get some strength training in. Yesterday, I tried a version of Yoga that was a little harder than the kind I normally do.

I usually go to Moksha Yoga which is practised in a hot room, and you are meant to gracefully, purposefully and gently move in to every pose and hold each pose for a few breaths. This kind is by far my favourite for obvious reasons. The class yesterday, which was Ashtanga Yoga, had some similarities, and a lot of differences. The biggest difference that I really struggled with were the poses that had us contorting our bodies into all sorts of weird, limb-tangling positions. I thought I was flexible, and I am, but this is a whole other level. I’m kind of interested to try to see if I can practise to the point of completing all the poses one day though.

The instructor was talking to us in between his chanting-instructions4, telling us about how when you feel tension in those positions, you have to breathe into the spot to help release the tension that is there. Within reason, he said, that tension is your body’s signal to you that there is something that needs to be worked out. Sounds like it would add some balance to the intense workouts I put my body through the rest of the week.

It’s all about balance, after all. It’s all well and good to be “fit”, but what good is being fit if you can’t function on a day-to-day basis? I wish it were that easy to maintain balance with emotional and mental fitness though, but I’m working on that. Productive distractions5, focusing on work, and the awesome projects I get to be a part of all help but they aren’t always enough.

I have to remind my self constantly that balance isn’t about forgetting or getting rid of the bad. It’s all about learning how to leverage the bad to make the good even better. The bad highlight the good by contrast. I don’t think it’s ideal when the bad and the good are present in extremes, but for some people that’s just how things are. I’m still trying to figure out how to maintain balance with such heavy emotions tipping my scales on any given day, and I doubt I’ll ever have to stop trying. I just hope one day, I can be okay with continually having to try. I’m pretty sure that when that happens, I’ll find that peace I’ve been searching for.

Footnotes:
  1. ok I didn’t give up alcohol completely but trust me it’s a big change[]
  2. click on that link if you want to watch me at hip hop dance class this past Saturday[]
  3. and having semi-acrobatic sex with a partner who shall remain nameless[]
  4. which is another thing I need to get used to, the instructors at Moksha speak to us in English[]
  5. like podcasts and audio books, home projects and the like[]

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