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Handstand or not? Thoughts on the meaning of Balance


Lately in the yoga world balance is interpreted more like being able to balance on your hands.

Is that true? Might be... it depends on the journey which took you there. An optimal balance for me is the balance of steadiness and ease, which is slightly different for each individual, not a perfect rather the healthiest state, which becomes the foundation of higher spiritual practices. Both ancient and contemporary science agree on this. You can't achieve optimal balance only with muscular strength or with extensive and long held stretching. The physical goal is to create a harmonious work in between bones, muscles, (myo)fascia and the rest of the human structure. Our body is very responsive to the slightest change we create. We are so much used to intense stimuli, kind of “desensitised” ourselves, that we can't read and feel any more the response of our body let it be through food intake, yoga practice or everyday walking/breathing.

When we wish to find our optimal balance, the first step is to create intelligence and sensitivity towards the body, which will slowly generate more access to our mind and soul too. Until you can't “hear” the message of the most outer sheets or layers of your being, how can you access the deeper ones.

How to be more sensitive? It is not so complicated. Be the observer of the third sheet, the mental sheet, which is processing the sensory input. Putting it in simple words next time:

  • when you eat, observe how you feel in your body, how is your energy level after the meal you had.

  • when you get angry observe your breath.

  • when you practice yoga start with simple & easy movements/asanas and pay attention to your body's responses, try to notice even the slightest sensation.

If there is nothing you noticed you didn't pay enough attention or you have already created your individual optimal balance :o).

What about handstand then? It doesn't mean you can't play with handstand, however, as soon as the “I want it” kicks in it is no longer a play (or yoga). You can train your body for almost anything if you put enough work in, the only question is whether it adds to your individual balance or takes away from it.

Unless you wish to become a professional dancer, circus artist or weight lifter etc. you don't need to “want”. There is a reason why there is no handstand mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, you don't need to train yourself to be able to stand on your hand, it rather may be the end result of the balance you create in your body & mind. This is the only way true health & balance can be generated in the first three, rather physical sheets/layers of the body.


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