Finding Balance in Life in an Out-of-Balance World

Balance while doing half-moon pose

One of the profound themes that emerged from my recent women’s retreat was just how subversive it can be to prioritize balance in one’s life. Try as we might, many of our learning institutions and work cultures just aren’t set up to support a life that reflects the yogic view of harmony and equilibrium.

To champion balance, therefore, can feel like fighting an uphill battle. It requires us to carve out spaces where productivity harmonizes with rest and where the pursuit of external accomplishments finds balance with the richness of our inner lives.

Perhaps the body’s wisdom can teach us what it means to create balance in an out-of-balance world.

Finding Balance: A State of Flux

Tree Pose - side view- concept of a yoga pose a balancing yoga pose and finding balance in life.Even the sturdiest-looking Tree Pose (Vrksasana)—when you really pay attention—is a balance that’s constantly in flux. It’s a dance of perpetual adaptation as the body responds to each sway and wobble.  

On a grander scale, the processes of homeostasis—the body’s self-regulating mechanisms—always adjust and adapt to changing conditions to maintain a stable inner environment that supports life.

The body teaches us that balance isn’t a fixed state but a dynamic process, a dance we engage in response to the discordant rhythms of life.

To find balance, we must also know what it is to be out of balance. In a sense, we’re never really in balance but always course-correcting—ever seeking, ever responding, and ever restoring equilibrium.

We see that balance doesn’t need to be an unattainable ideal. Instead, it can guide the journey toward wholeness, guiding us to foster equilibrium and well-being in a world askew.

Find Balance in Half-Moon Pose 

Balance while doing half-moon pose

This version of the Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana), practiced with your back to the wall and a block under your hand, is one of my favorite versions and an excellent way to explore the dynamic nature of balance. The wall provides the support needed to explore the dynamic nature of balance. The block for your hand allows you to get more lift in the pose.

Entering the Pose

  1. Stand with your back against the wall and step your feet wide apart. Turn your right leg out 90 degrees to the right so that your foot is parallel to the wall and the back of your left heel is at the wall.  
  2. Place a block in between your right foot and the wall. 
  3. Exhale, extend your torso over the right leg and come into Triangle Pose (Trikonasana) with your right hand on the block.
  4. Bend your right leg and shift your weight onto your right foot. 
  5. Reach your right hand forward and place the block directly beneath your right shoulder.
  6. Slowly lift your left leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. 
  7. Firm your right thigh as you straighten your right leg.
  8. Turn your chest to the left and extend through both arms.  

Working in the Pose

  1. Using the support of the wall, turn your right leg out and move your right outer hip and buttock bone in.
  2. Lengthen your tailbone toward your left heel. 
  3. Either keep your gaze on the floor, look straight ahead, or slowly look toward your top hand. 
  4. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths, and experiment with moving your bottom hip and top leg away from the wall. Notice the dynamic quality of the balance and how your muscles continually work to maintain stability.

Releasing the Pose

  1. To come out of the pose, bend your right knee and reach through the left leg to return to Triangle Pose.
  2. Inhale to come up, turn your feet parallel, and repeat to the left.
Barrie Risman writer, yoga teacher

Barrie Risman is an internationally recognized yoga teacher, teacher trainer, and author of Evolving Your Yoga: Ten Principles for Enlightened Practice. Download the first chapter of her book and learn more about her new livestream workshop series, Yoga for Turbulent Times: Building Strength, Resilience, and Compassion for a Changing World, at

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