I don’t know if you can read the labels on the vehicles in this picture, but I snapped the image at my local library last week. The car in front, of course, says cremation urns & supplies. The one in the back says “Edible Arrangements," referring to a great business that provides juicy, fresh fruits arranged like flowers (coincidentally, I bought an arrangement just a week ago, and dropped it off at my pediatrician’s office as a thank you for watching over my three kids from birth until age 21…).
Here’s my point: life is full of polar opposites and we may think we are “one way” or “another” but really we’re all a combination of the two. We all have male/female (sun/moon) qualities; we all have dark parts of ourselves and light spots, we all have days when we are dead serious (think cremation/urns here) and days when we are full of fruity fun and laughter.
Lately, I’ve been doing two kinds of yoga which seem to be polar opposites, in fact. Kundalini yoga—the “yoga of awareness” is filled with beautiful music, chanting, mantra, mudra, and challenging “kriyas” or exercise sets (some of which seem virtually impossible) that strengthen the immune and glandular systems. The practice is precise--don’t get me wrong; it’s not a flowy, vinyasa kind of thing. But it’s more concentrated on the soul than on perfect alignment.
Iyengar yoga, my other passion, is the complete opposite. There is no music, no chanting, only an occasional “Om.” Iyengar yoga doesn’t inspire tears or deep introspection (at least, not in my experience, though I may want to cry when our magnificent but exacting teacher notices that my Triangle pose is out of kilter). When I first began practicing Iyengar, truth be known, I thought it was definitely not for me. I am a "go with the flow" kinda gal who doesn’t really care if my blankets are neatly folded or if my toes are properly flared in a shoulder stand.
I stuck with both practices, however, because I began to realize that what we get from accepting the dark and the light, the straight and the wide, the good and the bad, the male and the female, and so on and so forth…is something quite priceless: Balance. Left to my own devises (without the yin and the yang), I just might topple over, fall off a cliff, drown myself in my own misery, or fly away on a broomstick. But open your heart to everything, stop pigeonholing yourself as one thing or another, and you may be surprised at the benefits. To put it succinctly, I’ve found that balance is everything--whether you’re talking about diet, love, sex, exercise, relationships, work, raising kids, or anything else.
Now, please excuse me while I go practice my Tree pose.