Category Archives: Sustainability

Getting a sense of balance in body and in life

          Greetings Sustainable Institutions Readers

“The throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out of balance the lives of men” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

            This quote about nature and resources reminds me of the balance poses in yoga. Now, I just want to say, let’s take the quote in its most gender neutral way. It was the 1930’s. It did not make non-gender neutral language okay, but it is what it is and we can find a way to move on and find wisdom from the quotation.

            Anyways, back to the yoga. Starting out in yoga, and continuing, the balance poses are not the easiest poses for me. There perhaps are folks that are great at these poses. These folks have the movement part of the asana down and can get the physical and even spiritual side of the movement. These are balanced folks and yogis or yoginis. Yay for you! Seriously, that’s not sarcastic. That is really great for you.

            Now, there are other folks, like me, in which balance takes a bit more work. These folks (again, like me) are the ones that perhaps need a little more (ahem) work at first in order to properly do the asana. Now, that does not mean that one cannot experience the shaky knees and flying all over the place as fun, but in reality, that is not really the point of the exercise, nor really all the ultimate from a “being correct” perspective or, importantly, a safety perspective, so it is important to take time to master the skill. Perhaps one needs some physical work to steer the distribution of weight with the pelvis. Maybe one needs to learn to focus on one object. That object can help to alleviate mental blocks toward the exercise. Think of it as your inanimate shrink. It can’t tell you when the time is up, though, except if it is a clock, something I would not particularly recommend, actually, especially if it has moving parts. Kino MacGregor, an Ashtanga teacher, teaches these tactics in this video for Miami Life TV (MacGregor, 2014, Dir. By Reyes & Bennozani April 7,  downloaded July 10, 2014 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?=kfQeyg02hkY&index=4&list=PLU0smAh6av8BQmm12ZSKZ0mejTd-2er). Check it out! Please note that download above is just for informational and citation purposes and is not meant to claim ownership or association in any way with the video nor its content. Please utilize this video at your own risk.

            Now, since I am working on these tactics myself, perhaps this is all I should really say. However, I started this quote with a FDR quote and I am going to finish my thought. It would not be Sustainable Institutions, anyways, without talking about how we can utilize this practice with other people or in our own lives.

            When we talk about individuals utilizing resources (again, in a twenty first century gender neutral way), we are talking about a multitude of ways we care for ourselves and for others. This means being good stewards of the environment, resources, time, treasure, and ourselves. We have to keep ourselves in a type of balance steering ourselves to one way or another, perhaps, to get things done.

            If we want to extend ourselves, we need to examine our own lives. How can we improve our own lives? Is there anything about ourselves or our daily practices of living that we can do differently to benefit others including those that are not immediate to us even animals? Do we need to steer ourselves one way or another? Are we too far to one side or another that we have come out of balance? Those are key questions to ask with regards to sharing our resources. When we ask and answer these questions, perhaps we can keep our lives in balance. These asanas, perhaps,, can assist us in this process, but ultimately, balance is interchangeable even in the body, examining both how we carry the body and how life is approached.

Be at your best,

Andrew Bennett

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