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Finding balance: Healing your one-sidedness

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Low-LungeHow comfortable would you feel entering a car with inflated front tires? Would you trust the tires ability to navigate the car to your destination safely? Most likely not, but every day we travel about, engaging in activities, while allowing this same kind of imbalance in our body persist without addressing them. These imbalances are not limited to the right and left sides only, misalignment extends to the front and back of the body as well.

Take for example, your level of confidence writing with your left hand if you are right-handed (or vice versa). You might be embarrassed by the scribble you produce while writing with the hand you never use to write with. When it comes to writing that is acceptable, however when it comes to the rest of our body, neglecting our imbalances can be detrimental to our health and well-being.

Here is a simple thing you can do to become aware of where you may be imbalanced. For the next seven days, observe yourself as you stand, sit, walk and lie down. Take note of where in your body you favor one side over the other. Also notice where you feel any discomfort and/or lack of flexibility.

One-side vs Wholesome
One of my yoga clients recently complained about lower back pain. He said that it began when he bent down to pick up his pen that fell on the floor and felt a sharp pain that rippled through the right side of his waist and back. He initially thought that he bent too quickly to get the pen and that was to blame for his pain, but what he had never realized was that the limited, misaligned, one-sided body movement he had been doing for 41 years, had set him up for this. His imbalance was normalized and that was the true culprit of his lower back pain.

When we favor one side of the body more than the other, our blood circulation and muscles respond accordingly and support the body’s limiting behavior. This results in the aches and pains we experienced throughout the day.

When we favor one side of the body more than the other, our blood circulation and muscles respond accordingly and support the body’s limiting behavior. This results in the aches and pains we experience throughout the day. Our body is always sending us signals if there is a misalignment or imbalance. Think about it: why is it that one side of your lower back bothers you more than the other? Why do you curl into the same position to sleep every night? When was the last time you gave your body a thorough stretch and awakening? When we fail to make use of a particular part of our body, it goes to sleep and signals us through discomfort and pain, that it needs to be awakened. It is making us aware that there is an imbalance.

Balance the Body with Yoga
To balance the body self-study is required. How well do you know your body? Where do your aches and pain stem from? Which emotions create tension and anxiety in your body? These days, we are quick to visit the doctor’s office to be told what is happening to our body. We request for medication to reduce symptoms that cause pain, instead of identifying and dealing with the root cause. Why should someone else tell us what’s wrong with our body, as if we haven’t lived with it all our lives? Not to worry, the body (mind and soul as well) has a way of guiding us back to center. This restorative journey is an exciting one. Simply ask anyone who starts a yoga practice. Most people who practice yoga feel an increase in strength and heightened body awareness as fatigue lessens and stress reduces. An awakening occurs. In a yoga session, the body will lengthen, expand, contract, and twist beyond what we do on a daily basis.  The practice of yoga, in conjunction with balanced living, has the potential to restore the overall well-being and vitality we all yearn for.

Restoring Balance
Regular practice of yoga can bring back the balance. The moment you feel one-sidedness, you’ll know it’s time to return to yoga class for mental, physical and soulful rejuvenation. Check out one of my yoga classes in Lagos, Nigeria.  If you’re living outside of Lagos, try these three poses on your own, to aid you in restoring balance in your body:

Warrior 1 builds strength and steadiness. Your inhale should be the same length as your exhale. Bend and stack your knee directly over your ankle. The back foot is turned perpendicular to the front foot to ensure heel-to-heel alignment. Extend and lengthen your arms above your head. All muscles are alert and active, which helps strengthen the shoulder, arms and back.

Warrior 2 is also performed in a lunge position, similar to Warrior 1. The front knee is bent and stacked over yoour ankle, while your arms are spread apart and extended at your sides. The Warrior 2 pose builds stamina while strengthening your shoulders, arms, back, and legs.

Low lunge with a back bend releases tension in your hips and stretches the psoas. It also strengthens the hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus muscles while expanding your chest, lungs and shoulders. This pose develops endurance in your thighs, and improves your balance.

Did you notice a difference as you stretched on each side?
When you practice yoga with awareness, you will recognize how the body tends to adjust itself to balance both sides. Drop a note in the comment section to let me know about your journey to balance.
Peace surrounds you. Namaste



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