BALANCE. We hear a lot about work-life balance these days. But what is balance anyway?
Let’s try looking at the concept of balance from a Ren Xue perspective. We’ll start with a physical example found in Yuan Qigong’s Third Method: Ren Yuan (Moving Qi). In the image below, you can see Qigong master Kelly already in the form. But how did she get here? Why does she look so peaceful?
I’m not suggesting that standing around on one leg all day will bring you the life balance you are seeking but stick with me for a few minutes and I’ll bring it all together for you.
Finding the balance within
Ren Yuan balance posture begins on two feet, bringing awareness inside, drawing in the senses, relaxing, and shifting into a calm state developed through the whole practice over time. In this calm and relaxed state, one is naturally steadier. You feel centered and more connected to both yourself and to the floor beneath you. From this state, one can go a little further and unify with Qi (your life force).
Experiencing a calm, relaxed, and unified state
If you aren’t sure what this feels like, try imagining Qi as a feeling of flow, or as a pleasant tingling inside that merges with your body. This unification takes you into a deeper state – a very peaceful one. Now, feeling relaxed, calm, and peaceful you are already in a better place to begin shifting your weight to one leg. Try not to kick up the back leg. Instead, bring your focus to your hips. The hips act as a pivot point, holding you as you move into a new position – on one leg with your arms reaching for the moon! It takes focus and practice to master this form. And it feels so empowering to be in this challenging posture steady, calm, and peaceful.
I hear you questioning me now: “What does this have to do with balance in daily life?”
Grounding and connecting
We begin the form connecting to ourselves and being aware of our relationship to the ground. The more we are aware of ourselves and what’s happening within us, the better we will be at connecting to what’s around us. Can you connect with something or someone if you don’t know where you are in the situation? Connecting with our self is always the starting point.
Acting from a peaceful state
Next, we bring ourselves into the state of being relaxed, calm, and peaceful. Cultivating this state ripples out into our life. When we are out of balance (not in a state of peace), we tend to react to situations in unhealthy ways, with our negative emotions often unintendedly directed at others creating a negative reaction or feeling in them as well. This process escalates situations and takes us further away from balance - like an out-of-control teeter-totter. But when we come from a place of calm, it’s easier to respond in the moment with more clarity. Smaller shifts are needed to bring that teeter-totter back to center.
How to reconnect to your heart
Teeter-totters have a pivot point. In this balance posture, we learn to pivot from our hips. In life, we can learn to pivot from our hearts. What do I mean by this? Being in our hearts, in a state of pure awareness and love, is the ultimate balance in life. It is sitting in our center, perfectly still. Small things may trigger us, but we can gently refocus and bring ourselves back to our hearts and regain that state of peace - balance. We can do this no matter where we are or who we are with. External circumstances may add weight, causing us to feel off balance, but we always have our hearts with us pivoting us back to a place of calm and stillness. The more we learn to do this before the disturbance gets large, the less effort it takes to steady that teeter-totter.
Qigong is a way of Being
The entire Yuan Qigong system helps us develop an internal focus and tranquil state of being. The seventh method, Tong Yuan (Opening the Heart), works directly on cultivating positive heart qualities like trust, love, and gratitude. It becomes much easier to sense when we are out of balance and easier to keep ourselves in a loving state of relaxed peace and joy. From this place, I am always much kinder to myself and everyone around me. The world can get topsy turvy and try knocking me into chaos, but I have my practice to help keep me relaxed in my heart. Even if it looks like I’m only hanging out on one foot, what’s happening on the inside is my focus. Calm, peaceful, and balanced within my body, Qi, and heart.