The image above represents a person in the yoga “tree” position—perfectly balanced and in harmony with their surroundings. Good for them. But, how come every time I try that pose I look and feel like a frazzled flamingo with a fractured leg? I can never get it quite right or keep in balance for long. But, that’s exactly why our yoga instructor says we need to practice this tree pose. To improve our balance, we often need to clear our mind (of doubt, worry, nagging questions like why am I here or what’s for dinner?). Sometimes if we steady our gaze on a fixed target just ahead or simply re-position our feet, it works and feels right. Just like trees, we can learn to bend with the wind. But, to be able to bend, our “roots” need to be firmly planted or we will get blown away, snap, not grow or maintain our best health over the years.
How is your “tree” of life? Are you in balance?
If not, do you remember when you were? Perhaps it was a time in childhood, high school, before you became pregnant, before a loved one’s departure, before you became injured, lost a job, moved or took on a new job. What has changed over the years gradually or suddenly that has blown you off course? Knowing that we are out of balance is the first step toward better health.
Often unbalanced eating and/or an unbalanced diet are symptoms that other parts of our life are out of balance. When work, finances, family, illness, addiction, thoughts, emotions, sleep time or you name it, hijack our time, we look for what appear to be short cuts like fast food, too many meal replacement bars, energy drinks, supplements or fad diets. Other short cut “coping” behaviors that may tip us out of balance are eating at our desk, eating while driving, eating too fast (chewing takes too much time?!), meal skipping altogether, or risky food grazing (or is it craving?). Sadly, sometimes we may even restrict fluids or foods for all kinds of reasons! On the activity side of the energy balance equation, we miss our stretch breaks, walks or gym time. Life becomes compressed. Our “tree” can bend no more and we snap…or worse.
Let’s be honest, eating healthy takes some time and practice until we get our balance. Who told us we don’t have time for this basic human function? Relying on trendy short cuts can quickly empty our wallets and drain our body of the energy, nutrients, sleep and daily activity we need. The good news is that when we take time to make a meal plan for just 3-4 days, create a simple shopping list, and buy more healthy food, we do end up eating better. Taking back some “me time” to do these basic human tasks can be nurturing to more than just our bodies. Nutrition is the foundation of health that we need to practice daily. Ah, now doesn’t that feel better?