When the sadhaka is firmly established in continence, knowledge, vigor, valor and energy flow to him.
Yoga Sutra II.38 (From Light on the Yoga Sutras by BKS Iyengar)
I don’t know about you, but having knowledge, vigor, valor and energy flow to me sounds pretty darn good. In this particular sutra, we can interpret continence as”moderation.”
Moderation seems to be my personal holy grail. I tend to be an all or nothing kinda gal. I strike certain foods completely from my diet rather than eat them in moderation. I squirrel money away, only to blow it all in one purchase (that I probably didn’t need to make). I retreat into deep introspection, only to emerge as Chatty Cathy without regard to the words leaving my mouth.
When I go to a yoga class, I am given the opportunity to practice moderation. I work on keeping my mind focused on what I’m doing, instead of going from one end of the spectrum (“What can I eat when I get home?”) to the other (“I love/hate this pose.”). I try to balance my tendency to muscle through poses with a compassion and gentleness. I strive to let go of the judgement and just enjoy each moment.
Sometimes, it’s just as basic as trying to balance my inhale with my exhale. Yep – even that simple exercise helps. In fact, there’s a specific breathing exercise that helps bring balance to your being. Nadi Shodhana Pranayama, alternate nostril breathing, is a wonderful way to bring things back into focus when you feel yourself coming unglued.
Fourteen years into my practice, finding the middle ground is becoming more familiar to me. We often say that we mellow with age; perhaps we just find that happy medium and decide to spend more time there, the extreme highs and lows not as alluring as they once were.
Is staying on an even keel easy for you? How do you manage it?