We often look for balance in our yoga practice, shaking on one leg in vrkasana or exploring focus in garudasana. But does the balance you create on the the mat transfer to your life?
Yoga helps us practice more than just physical postures; it helps us explore the space outside of our comfort zone, allowing for growth and ultimately self-reflection. As a tool of self-study, yoga helps us understand our patterns, strengths and weaknesses, all of which are important when establishing a work-life balance that is so often needed in our lives.
A work-life balance is simply the allocation of time you dedicate toward working vs. living your life. Establishing the balance that works best for you requires self reflection and practice. Let’s explore these four ways that yoga can help you discover a healthy work-life balance.
A yoga practice is the ultimate form of self-study. It’s a keystone to finding balance and generating wellness in your life. When we study what and who we are, we are more able to discover the best work-life balance for us. During your practice, take time to reflect on what’s important to you, what you want to fill your life with more of. Over time, this self-reflection on the mat will help you to design a life that best suits your unique needs and personality. This type of self-study doesn’t happen overnight- it takes time, patience, and consistency, just like a regular practice.
Explore your Patterns and Habits
Our daily patterns and habits have a big effect on our work-life balance. Sometimes we follow patterns, such as a work schedule, to perform our jobs. We also carry unconscious behavioural patterns with us, such as daily habits that we move through without a lot of thought, like grabbing a morning cup of coffee or afternoon snack. Sometimes our daily patterns are healthy, but often they are not. Yoga helps to increase self-awareness, helping to identifying these unhealthy patterns and establish good habits, ultimately creating space to establish balance.
Understand your Limits
Everyone has limits, or a range that your mind or body follows. Yoga practice can help you explore your limits by practicing physical postures and tracking your progress, developing the ability to acknowledge limits as well as find growth into new areas. For example, you may be limited by a physical injury or a mental block. It is imperative to honor these limits and also acknowledge when you need to keep an open mind. Listen to your limits, and learn to keep them in balance.
Find your Sukha and Sthira
In yoga philosophy, there is a concept of sukha (ease, openness and comfort) and sthira (steadiness and strength) that can be applied to every yoga posture. Exploring these two concepts will help you understand that you need both in order to find balance in poses, as well as in life. For example, working is good and often necessary, but developing a life that is fulfilling is equally important. In this sense, you can think of your work as sthira, your stability, and other aspects of your life such as hobbies, sukha, or comfort.
Practice for Balance
A consistent yoga practice provides you with the tools to establish this balance in your body, mind and into your everyday life. Like most worthwhile things in life, it requires consistent practice to establish your practice, and the same goes for establishing a work-life balance. So start exploring - yoga is there to help.