Balance (Or What I Learned From Warrior III and Tree Pose)

I am not the best of friends with yoga.  We were complete strangers until being introduced four years ago.  I was wary of this new acquaintance, and I approached it with a mixture of caution and curiosity.  We did not hit it off during our first few meetings.  I felt inferior to yoga, envious of its fluidity and grace.  I, being of the cardio/ running/ weight training world, was inflexible and decidedly unbalanced.  Yoga demanded that I both flex and balance.  I was not sure I was willing to put that much effort into our newfound relationship.  However, I was seduced by Savasana (also known as the Corpse Pose), and so I allowed our friendship to develop.

I would be comfortable in saying now that I consider yoga to be a casual friend.  We meet up weekly or bi-weekly for thirty to sixty minutes to practice our poses.  When we began I could not hold Tree Pose for more than a few seconds without toppling sideways.  Me doing Warrior III resembled a flamingo with a bad case of vertigo, wobbling and swaying while precariously balanced on one leg.  Yoga taught me patience and perseverance, though, and over time the results were markedly improved.  I began to trust my new friend, and I allowed myself to be guided in breathing and relaxation techniques.  I will never be a yoga master, but it has given me the gift of balance.

Finding balance in the physical form led me to question if I had it in other areas.  Was I dedicating equal time to work and home life?  Was I putting the same effort into feeding my soul as I was putting into my career?  Were my family and friends being given as much weight as my obligations and commitments?  The answer was a resounding no.  There was a definitive tipping of the scales, and it became evident that a redistribution of my time and energy was in order.

My story is no different than many others.  I got lost in my quest to elevate my position within my profession.  Forty hour work weeks became fifty plus hour work weeks.  Lunch breaks were skipped, and more nights than not I was logged on and working from home.  Weekend plans were interrupted by work emails that could not be ignored.  While some people thrive under these conditions, I am not one of them.  Sleep was erratic and minimal, and combined with high stress levels it caused my health to suffer.  Boundaries were crossed, and balance was nonexistent.

I discovered that all of the weight was resting on one side of the scale, and it was crushing me.  I needed to move some of that weight to the other side.  I needed balance.  I left the job I was in and did some much needed soul searching.  I tried another line of work, but it did not suit me.  I went back into, and then back out of, my chosen field.  I was transferring weight from one side of the scale to the other so often it was like being on a never ending seesaw ride.  Finally, I jumped off and went to do more soul searching.

Have I achieved balance?  I have not.  In fact I have now tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction.  I have taken time off, and it has allowed me to focus on my health and my happiness.  I have been able to spend a great deal of time reconnecting with my husband.  I have rediscovered the things that bring me joy (writing, traveling, and being out in nature).  Yet there is a gap there that needs to be filled.  I need the mental stimulation that working brought, and I miss the social aspect of an office environment.  I crave the energy and the satisfaction that come from achieving goals and being productive.

I have not found the parity I am seeking in my approach to both my home life and my career, but I am working on it.  I am making changes, and I feel closer than ever to reaching an equitable solution.  I know that others have faced this dilemma and found a workable solution.  I am excited to read about companies that now encourage their employees to log off and unplug during non working hours.  Thanks to my dear friend yoga (what can I say, it grew on me) I recognize the importance of balance in all of its forms.  As I did with yoga, I will keep practicing until the scales are evenly balanced.  Oh, and I can now hold Tree Pose for a few minutes wobble-free.  As for my Warrior III…let’s just say I have progressed to looking like a slightly tipsy flamingo.  Namaste.

Have you struggled with managing your home and career lives?  How did you find balance?  As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.  Cheers! Karen

(Fill Your Own Glass is now on Facebook- please visit me here!)

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24 thoughts on “Balance (Or What I Learned From Warrior III and Tree Pose)

  1. I feel pretty great, because I don’t have a home life or a career but my life is incredibly full of meaning and abundance. I feel blessed to have transcended a lot of worldly boring concerns that hold people down. 🙂 I’m crap at yoga, though. I must practise this rigorous discipline more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you have achieved what many aspire to but few attain. My home life is my “Zen” and my fulfillment. The need for balance comes in when dealing with the outside world. Luckily I require little in the way of possessions, as that is a huge factor in determining where I go from here.

      As for the yoga…I’m still claiming beginner status. It used to stress be out more than relax me, so at least I’m seeing progress there. 🙂


      • Well it sounds like you are well on your way, and none of us ever get to what we aspire to, because as we grow so do our aspirations. Isn’t it freeing not to require a lot of stuff? I’ve had the mounds of stuff – and getting rid of it (ethically) felt much better than acquiring it.

        Keep going with the yoga… I’d like to think that the more you do, the more it builds up its own momentum that steers us away from laziness.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve found that once I had more time for myself, those things that life wants me to do start to come up slowly. Little hints of what I should do next. Little whispers of guidance. Not the whole assignment at once, but one step at a time is revealed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really like how doing yoga helped you both physically and mentally–that basically being the whole point of the entire thing 😉 I find that finding balance in a society that glorifies a limited range of behaviors, most of which are counterproductive to most people, makes a complicated task even more complicated. Time tracking is something a friend of mine mentioned using–twice a year, for an entire month, he tracks, minute by minute, what he does throughout the day, and spends a couple of hours analyzing his life and making the necessary adjustments. Your post reminded me of how he felt when his job took over, and the amazing process he underwent, and this amazing tool he developed!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, beautifully written. I’m in the getting to know you stage of yoga. I’m not sure we are going to be lifelong friends, it’s very demanding. For right now though, Im enjoying the company


    • I feel the same way at times, as though we may part ways somewhere down the line, but it has helped me to find a relaxation point that was elusive. There are days when I enjoy it immensely, and there are days I find myself frustrated by its demands.


  5. It is so hard to achieve the right work/home balance. I know I sometimes wish that I could work from home which would mean a career change, and I am sure I would miss working with the wonderful team that I have……tricky!


  6. Tricky indeed! I believe that working part-time would be a good solution for me if I can find the right position. I have been home for nine months now, and it has been wonderfully relaxing but I do miss the interaction that co-workers bring. Still searching for that balance!


  7. Interesting post! I’m struggling with work/life balance at the moment, it’s hard to tune out and when I get home I’m not in the mood to do other things, even blog! 😦 I hope you find the balance that you are seeking soon Karen, it sounds like you are getting there 🙂


    • It only comes after banging my head against the same brick wall over and over. I hear you- not much is worse than staring at the ceiling at 2:00am thinking about work stuff. I hope things even out for you. I am curious how you find it here. I worked a lot with insurance underwriters in London, and I did get the impression that there is a better work/life balance in the UK (and in European countries overall). They seemed to leave work on time most days, and they had a good deal of holiday time. There were occasions, say during the World Cup, when they were known to conduct business from the pubs. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Karen, this is an amazing analogy of finding balance in yoga as well as in life.

    For me, I have not quite got the balance, but am getting there. I work full time and part time. The part time job I love. Have been able to reduce my full time to 4 days a week, which has helped a lot.

    Sometime, I would like to try yoga,, just awkward, as there is no other men in these classes at the gym..



  9. I started yoga because of running- I didn’t realize just how inflexible I was until I tried it. Oof! Be bold and give it a shot!

    Having a job that you love makes a world of difference, doesn’t it? Ahhhh…if only this writing paid the bills… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yoga and I are also in the get-to-know-you stage. I was introduced a few years ago at a yoga studio with some friends, but was discouraged by my lack of skill, flexibility and ability… I have since found that doing my own yoga at my house, using online video resources, is much better for me. I can’t say I do it with any regularity yet, but I would like to work up to it.

    As for my life/work balance, and balance in other areas of my life, there is much work to be done. I am working on it… so maybe as I get better at the yoga, the other areas will start to balance out as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do my yoga at home as well. At this point I am far too self-conscious about it to have an audience!

      I just started a new job this past week, so I am sure I will have some adjustments to make to ensure that the scales don’t tip in the wrong direction again. I think that is a constant battle we have to keep fighting.

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your comment! Best, Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  14. Hello Karen,
    I’ve read a couple of your post but it was your blog heading that drew my attention and more specifically your ‘about’ page that mentioned …reformed pessimist …that hooked me. You are fortunate to be able to remove yourself from work and seek realignment. I look forward to reading more from you.


    • Hi Karyn,
      Thank you for taking the time to visit, read, and comment! It has been, so far, a five year process. Removing myself from the toxic environment was the first step, and there have been many subsequent steps (backward and forward) since. I’ve been having a peek over at your blog as well. Though I may not agree with your viewpoint, your post on paying for college is well-written and your opinion well-stated. I will be reading more of your blog, too.

      Liked by 1 person

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