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Balance: Yoga @ St. Luke’s with Rachel Dahlgren

An invitation to lagom from Rachel Dahlgren.

St. Luke’s is offering vinyasa yoga classes on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month from 7-8 PM. Come one, come all!

Balance. A word that has been popping up in my life a lot recently. Balancing work, friends, social engagements, among many other things. What does a healthy balance look like and how do we create that in our own lives?

Earlier in December, I was at a Scandinavian shop with my parents and my father pointed out a book to me, Live Lagom, by Anna Brones. I ended up reading the book and was struck by some of the lagom principles and how similar they are to yogic principles and teachings. In Live Lagom, Brones defines lagom as “just right,” “just enough,” “sufficiently,” “in moderation,” or “moderately.” She also states lagom is “finding a moderate path between two extremes” or “just the right amount until you feel content.”

Just the right amount. I think about the busyness of the holiday season, the holiday treats, work deadlines, and how much we try to do and accomplish, tipping the balance in one direction. We become exhausted because we try to do too much. During the holiday season, many of us celebrate with delicious meals and treats and might imbibe too much in these pleasures. While it is good to celebrate and to enjoy meals and treats, how often do we consider, what is just the right amount? The right balance will likely vary from person to person and may vary from day to day for every person, depending on what we are experiencing, how we are feeling, our health, and other factors. Some days we may need more rest and other days more activity. We need to slow down and take a moment to consider, what is just the right amount for me in this moment?

When I think about a lagom approach to a yoga practice, it makes me think about not going too far or not deep enough into a pose. While it is good to push ourselves, if we push ourselves too far into a pose, we risk injuring ourselves. If we do not go far enough into a pose, we may not be able to reap the full benefits of a pose. There is a “just right” space that we want to be in as we attempt various yoga postures and the “just right” space varies from person to person. Every person’s body and mind is in a different place and every person is their own expert on these matters. You know your body and your mind better than anyone else and you have the power to make those decisions about what is “just right” for you.

If we are able to take a moment to slow down and connect with ourselves and our actions, we are being mindful. Mindfulness is an important aspect of a yoga practice. The word “yoga” means to “to yoke” or “to unite.” Through the practice of yoga, we connect our minds and bodies through breathing and asanas, or physical postures. We take time to be present and notice our bodies and our thoughts without passing any judgements them. By noticing our minds and our bodies in this way, we are able to connect with ourselves in a different manner than we normally do. So much of the time we spend thinking about the past or the future but it is in the present that we are able to find our most contentment and happiness.

As 2018 winds down and we prepare for 2019, I encourage you to consider incorporating some mindfulness practices into your life or think about what is “just right” for you in various aspects of your life in order to find a good balance for yourself. Some ways you could incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life might be noticing what water feels like on your body when you wash your hands or noticing what it feels like to be in your body while sitting, walking, or laying and not passing any judgement on those things. As you eat a meal, you could take note of what the food tastes like in your mouth as it hits your taste buds and you chew it. You could come to a yoga class and spend some time practicing mindfulness and exploring the mind/body connection on a deeper level. If you would like to explore finding health and sustainability in various aspects of your life, maybe take a moment to think about what is just right for you and what serves you most in that moment when you are faced with various decisions throughout the day about what to eat, how much to work, how many social engagements to partake in. However you approach the new year, I hope that you find some moments of peace, joy, and are able to spend some time being present with yourself and loved ones.

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