The Art of Equipoise


There are many things in our lives that can lead us to have a sense that we're entering a state of becoming out-of-balance. We can be physically off balance by having our proprioception challenged, having mental stress that creates restlessness, or being emotionally strained by having our inner bearings shaken. Each time we have these experiences we are acknowledging a need to adjust our equilibrium. These experiences serve us like an alert system that says ‘hey, we need to course correct here’. This allows us to gain a sense of equipoise that can lead us back to our authentic ourselves, because it shows us what needs attention, offering us a chance to tap into our strength and self-awareness.

It's important to remember that when we feel ungrounded and unstable, we are not meant to feel this way as a permanent state of being. It is an occurrence that strikes us into awareness, encouraging us to find our balance. Our sense of balance is something we may take for granted, until it’s challenged, going unnoticed and underappreciated. When we are living in a balanced manner, our lives tend to flow with a special fluid motion. We are capable of performing our tasks, our bodies move the way we expect them too, and we gain a certain sense of accomplishment in being able to do as we like without interruption. It is only when we become challenged by something that we might lose our sense of balance, becoming aware of its value.


Losing our balance may have many different ways of showing up in our lives, and each time it is a signal to pay attention to ourselves. This may be a temporary experience, like becoming wobbly during a well-known yoga pose that we’re able to correct immediately with a little laughter, or within our self-awareness when we drift into a daydream, losing track of time, missing appointments that require a rebalancing of our schedules. Or it might be something more severe as losing connection with someone we love, or finding that we have misplaced something valuable that causes us to suddenly feel out of balance, which requires a greater effort to regain our sense of harmony.


These experiences bring us an awareness to become more centered in ourselves, to gain a greater sense of feeling steady and stabilized. Losing our balance is an opportunity to regain it with a stronger resolve, often shifting us away from what could cause us greater harm later. It appears in our experience as a beacon to rally us into action, allowing for growth and the chance to make appropriate changes to gain increased health and vitality.


When we experience physical imbalances, we are being triggered to strengthen ourselves in regaining wellness. Our body’s imbalance brings us an understanding of our limitations, learning what’s required to create health and grow stronger. Similarly, when we experience emotional imbalance, it serves as an opportunity to reassess what we need to feel calm and stable again. When we feel, as if we’re being thrown into a spin of emotions, it gives us the awareness to look with care at our experiences. It is an inner alert system to work towards gaining inner balance.


Learning to keeping our balance is something that we often practice when we are children, finding it fun to be challenged. Remembering trying to balance while navigating the fallen tree or balancing along a beam held off the ground. As we grow older having fallen or by discovering a fear of falling that desire to practice keeping our balance through being challenged might have disappeared. Losing our balance isn’t the worst part, it's remaining in a state fear of feeling out of balance that is most harmful, for it harbors a sense of weakness and insecurity.


Learning to find our balance, in the same way we walked on a log or curb as children, testing ourselves with a sense of courage and playfulness can have a resilient effect on us. Even if, the way that we are testing ourselves is not physically, but rather metaphorically through an inner contemplation of how we would feel, or how we might respond. This grants us a resilience that is equally strengthening to our inner sense of balance. We have all the skills we need to meet our challenges, especially when we are prepared for them in advance. This is the task of contemplating our lives and our potential choices.


Keeping ourselves in balance and developing a sense of equipoise by being in the moment confident to respond without losing our sense of balance comes from a practice of honoring it. We can practice inner and outer balance in similar ways. Just as outer balance can be strengthened through yogic postures, or physically mastering a balance board, riding a bike or walking along on a log or curb, so too can inner support be built up. We gain an inner sense of equipoise by cultivating a balanced attitude within ourselves. This assists us when challenged because we have a practice of holding a clear understanding about who we are and what we need to stay healthy.