This is a Guest Muse by Kay Burnett:
In my yoga practice, the balance poses are a particular challenge, the left and right sides being very different. Some days a simple tree pose is effortless, other days the same pose is impossible! What is going on? That is a big question for me and one I try to experience when I am practicing but now and here I'm willing to put words around, thus analyze it.
The focus of the balance for me, besides the basic challenge of standing on one foot, is to allow my tailbone to drop, to allow my hips to level, to allow my shoulders to drop and to extend up and out of the core pelvis, waist and hips. I find that on my "good" side, I can often get to the point where I am feeling the bits lining up. On my "bad" side, the balance alone is a huge challenge and often in a class, the pose is over before I've gotten to my goal of feeling aligned. In my classes with Brooks, I am encouraged to take the time I need to complete the pose and when I feel that I am close, I will take her encouragement to heart.
My problem (as I perceive it) is a knee that does not always respond as my brain asks. It is lacking cartilage and is often stiff and painful. And then the opposing hip comes into the situation. And so the story goes!
I can most often balance equally on both sides if I choose to modify the pose to a foot to the opposite calf. It feels more stable on the "good" side and I can hold it for some time on both sides. Since I can often balance in a fuller pose, with foot to thigh, on the "good" side, I feel the challenge to even the sides. This is where the wobblies get extreme. I have learned not to be agitated or angry with myself for not getting it but I continue to try to complete the fuller pose on both sides.
We want to balance the balance -- same on both sides. I always hear, do the same thing on this side that you did on the other. And when that is accomplished, it does feel like success!
Does it make a difference if we start on our easy side or our hard side? I have a tendency to start on my hard side, go to the easy side and sometimes come back to the hard side one more time.
And what I would like to do at some point, is carry the balance story into life events in addition to yoga. How do we balance in our lives, on both sides, our own desires and realities of what is good for us with the demands and expectations of those others in our lives?