What It Means to Truly Balance Your Practice

Intensity and optimization are the two principles of most workout or physical movement practices.

The drive to sweat, burn, tone, tighten, build – it’s all great… until you’ve had a heavy week. You’re tired, you’re frazzled, your nervous system is on edge overloaded with aggressive, demanding stimuli.

Conversely, there are times when your energy is on fire, your feet need to move and your body needs to sweat hard — and you’ve committed to a slow practice.

That begs the question – do we still need a consistent level of intensity in our movement practice at every point of time?

The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer to when and what makes sense. Every body is different. But there are ways to assess this for yourself, and to nurture your inner balance through whichever movement practice you choose.

Stop the self-imposed stress

You are the keeper of your own body, therefore you have to make decisions that impact you in the best ways.

Self-imposed stress, and more importantly, pressuring yourself and the accompanying mental language that berates the correlation between your movement practice and level of effort are something to be paid close attention.

You hold the responsibility to keep yourself healthy – but health comes through balance, which is different for each and every body, and vastly different across time.

Having a hard time motivating yourself for a 3 mile run? It may be a gentle day. Mind too wound up for a meditation session? Recalibrate and refocus.

Meet yourself with solutions, not frustration.

Listen to yourself

Seems simple enough but pay attention to what is going on not only in your body, but in your mind. You are giving yourself clues about what is going on and what you need at that present moment.

It sounds cliche, but take a hint and not only listen to your body, but act accordingly. It’s okay to push yourself when you need and it’s also just as fine to take a gentler day.

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Give 100% of your 20

Not every day is a marathon day. If you have 20% to give, then give the full 20%.

Balancing yourself is about giving the full 20% and the full 600% on their respective days. That is respect for yourself and utilizing your practices to honor and acknowledge what is happening in your body.

Embrace balance

Overall, balance is nourishing and forgiving. Most of us have heard of yin and yang – balanced energies. Too much of one or the other and you are not balanced. Same goes for your movement practice.

It’s about creating variables for yourself that feed your body/mind/spirit as they need. You are a multidimensional human and your physical practices should be as well.

About the Author

Ellen is the founder of Balance Movement. She is a dance and yoga practitioner and instructor who advocates balance both on and off the mat.

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