Friday, February 9, 2007

The balance of power

Connie Aronson

Connie Aronson is an American College of Sports Medicine, ACE Gold, and IDEA Elite personal trainer in Ketchum.

The yoga pose Warrior II has a rich Sanskrit history that stems from a tale of a prince and archer preparing for battle. This popular yoga pose can teach us something about modern living. Warrior II is a powerful lunge that strengthens the hamstrings, hip joints, and quadriceps. Looking like an archer, one arm reaches to the future, one arm reaches to the past, and the torso is still.

The pose is a lot like today's world, trying to be a warrior, trying to be strong and resilient, with so many tugs, pulls and distractions vying for our attention. One challenge with today's advanced technology is knowing how to stay in the moment and not be pulled in multiple directions at once.

We're expected to be connected, from international businesses that operate 24/7 to the 2 billion cell phones ringing worldwide wanting our immediate attention. We are always on call. Someone or something is draining our energy. Finding a healthy way to prioritize the way we want to live our lives and what our core values are is a big step to a balanced life.

Professors Christina Geithner and Joseph Albert recently published a Wellness Inventory in The American College of Sports Medicine Journal. The inventory encompasses not only the physical and emotional aspects of balance, but the emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual and vocational aspects as well. They ask, for example, "Do I have things that interest and challenge me to think creatively? Can I manage highly stressful situations so my behavior reflects my values? Am I really tuned into what is going on with my family and friends—their feelings and their attitudes and lives? Do I talk more than listen? Do I look forward to work, and do I make any kind of impact in my community? Do I make time to disconnect from pushes and pulls and reconnect with a source of peace and balance?"

Professor and psychologist Mike Czikszentmihalyi coined the concept of flow, where time stops for you, and you never want it to end. Of course, you're not going to feel that all day long at work, but there may be moments. Here your strengths and talents take front-stage because you are focused. These moments help you thrive, because your work and life have value, and are congruent to who and what you want in your life to make it better.

If you need to make some changes to lead a more balanced life, start with small ones. Have a specific realistic plan and write it down. Visualize it happening. Ask for help with your needs and goals with someone you trust. If you rarely or never take a full day off, do so. Every small step moves you closer, like a grounded Warrior II, powerful, resilient, mindfully present and beautifully balanced.

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