4 Things Arm Balances Have Taught Me About Life

My arm balance practice has been picking up ton of steam over the past few months and lately I’ve been practicing them pretty much daily. It all started innocently enough back in January with a desire to get into Scorpion Pose without any assistance someday. I began this journey in a time of great transition in my life while on the verge of making a few life-altering decisions.

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I expected it would take a long time (like YEARS) to get into Scorpion unassisted but what I didn’t expect was that my arm balance practice would become an important educational process for me.  I believe that fitness and mental training go hand in hand – one should never exist in the absence of the other – but this took that to a whole new level. My mat became my classroom and the greatest life lessons I’ve ever received came to me there. Here is what I learned:

1. Be willing to fall on your face. You’re going to tip over many times, you’ll often look a bit silly and you may even get Balance1a scrape or bruise from time to time. In fact, you’ll fall many more times than you’ll fly. Learn to accept that you’ll never succeed unless you’re willing to fail.

2. Have faith in your own strength. Self-doubt will get you nowhere. There is no place for second guessing. Believe that you’re strong enough and go for it with everything you’ve got. Be brave and willing to put it all out there.

3. Live in the moment without fear of the future. The moment you stop paying attention to your body position and breathing, you’ll topple over. Focus on the here and now. Don’t worry about seven seconds from now – it doesn’t exist yet and when it does, it’ll be whatever you make it. So make it good.balance2

4. You can’t force it. Muscling it doesn’t work (trust me, I’ve tried.) Your job is not to make the lift–off happen, it’s simply to get yourself into the right position and let it happen naturally. When you are exactly where you should be, you will rise up almost effortlessly.

Fitness can be a terrific pastime, stress-reliever, social activity and a conduit to a healthier life. But it’s also a powerful tool for self-discovery. If you pay attention, there are many lessons to lead you down the path to accomplishing great things and finding happiness through self-acceptance.balance3

Rather than just checking off the “I Worked Out Today” box or simply going through the motions, connect the mental and physical aspects of fitness practice and you’ll be a fitter, happier you.

P.S. I got into Scorpion Pose on June 29th, only 6 months after I started…and I even captured it on film. BOOM!! Nailed it!! (The main image of this post captures my first successful attempt!)

What important life lessons have you learned through fitness? Talk to me on Twitter or on Facebook.