Balance is a still facade over the truth of constant effort.  To put our weight on a small point is to require consistent stabilizing movements from our muscles, who ripple and shift as our center of balance moves gently with the rhythm of our breath.  It is an act of will, to look into the eyes of gravity and accept the risk of stumbling and swaying, but remaining strong of body and of mind.

My yoga tonight took me through Virabhadrasana III, Garudasana, Ardha Chandrasana.  All of these asanas are one-legged balancing acts requiring a different center of balance.

Virabhadrasana III, or Warrior III, is a strong pose balanced on one leg with the opposite leg stretched strong behind while the core of the body and the arms are stretched in front.  I struggle here to find my center of balance:  My grounding foot rocks from side to side, my calf muscle tries to compensate for this weakness by rippling and swaying.  I try to keep my eye focused on something immobile in front of me, and I find soon that my entire sense of balance is carried in my vision.  Eagle Pose, or Garudasana, finds one leg wrapped around the other like ivy on a tree trunk, with one foot rooted strongly in the ground.  The grounded foot is at the end of a bent knee, the body is in a gentle standing seated position, the back is strong and stable.  The arms mimic the legs as they wrap around each other.  My center of balance here struggles as my back sways, my ankles rock.

In Ardha Chandrasana, or Half Moon Pose, the weight is again balanced on one foot, but the hips are open and the opposite leg opens outward so the outside of the foot is reaching for the sky.  The chest too is open, pointing out instead of down, and the arms are open with one hand reaching for the sky as the other brushes its fingers lightly against the mat.  The temptation to put weight on that hand and split the weight between the arm and the leg is great, but giving in would be detrimental to learning the delicate art of balance.

Here is where I crumble.  I find myself open and vulnerable in Half Moon, pulled in too many directions and I lose sight of my vision.  My heart feels open and my eyes feel closed; half of me is grounded and the other half is reaching into the clouds.  I fall backward, I lean forward onto my arm, I seek some kind of crutch as I find myself laughing at my inability to control myself, to even address the center of my balance.

All of a sudden, the time for Half Moon is over, and it becomes a small part of my past.  I don't know if I'm stronger and more balanced after the experience of wavering and losing myself to gravity, but I like to believe I am.  I won't know until I find myself in Ardha Chandrasana again, and when I do, I like to think I'll be a Warrior.

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"Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts." - Buddha