I really like the word balance. Especially when I am talking about yoga. New students often come to class telling me they want to work on their balance. I think this is great. It means they want to work on changing.
Think about balance for a moment. When you are in balance, everything is even and steady; both sides are equal and nothing is being disturbed. In actuality this rarely happens. It is the nature of things to always be in flux, to always be changing and we are always adjusting. If you think of how a bird manages to perch on a branch of a tree and watch how its feet clamp around the branch, the bird is constantly flexing back and forth. That is how we are always reacting to our world.
So when someone says they want to work on their balance they probably mean that their leg muscles are not as strong as they want or their core is not strong or as connected as it needs to be. They need to be able to flex and adjust more readily then they are dong at present. The person wants to be stronger and more focused. They just haven’t figured out yet how to get there, how to actually do it.
Yoga is good at helping people break things down to see what is needed and how to go about making changes. With something like balancing on one leg, we begin by standing on two feet and two legs and exploring how the feet and legs and body interact. Then we move close to a wall and do the same exploration on one leg. Small, repetitive steps that add up to new perceptions and habits. In the process the person has to slow down and consider and pay attention. As soon as the attention fades, the balance is lost, the strength fades, the mind races. After a while this repetitive practice becomes more of a habit: slow down, consider, focus and pay attention. Balance.