In my Yoga teacher training, we talked a lot about sequencing a class. We talked about properly warming up the spine, poses that warm you up for the next pose, and that each pose should follow with a counterpose.
While I follow all of these sequencing strategies, the last one has really stuck with me. It’s a philosophy that I not only use on the mat, but off, as well.
To get us on the same page, an example of pose/counterpose in yoga is an Upward-Facing Dog followed by the counter pose of Downward-Facing Dog. A backbend followed by a forward fold.
One pose counters the movements of the other to create a feeling of balance in the body. But just like a well-curated yoga class, we also need to offer the main poses in our lives a counterpose.
A physical example of this is how we hold ourselves most of the day. Say you have a desk job and sit looking at a screen for most of the day. A counterpose to this is to make sure you stand and move regularly throughout the day, especially after work. You need to counter the lack of movement with movement to avoid major and minor body issues.
An emotional or mental example of this is if we spend the majority of the day being stressed out and high strung, we need to counter it with play, joy, and de-stressing activities. Play with your kids, dance around the house, get outside, anything that gets you smiling and relaxing.
On the flip side, if you already do feel a lot of joy and play throughout our days, it’s ok to let yourself feel sadness and hurt as it arises. Those emotions can be used for good as well, and they keep us humble and grateful.
The world is in a very unstable place and there are a lot of unknowns about the future. And that causes people to want to retreat inward into isolation. Disconnect and stay huddled in their own safe, comfort zone. But I feel that adds to the danger. It lets it win.
Yes, we do need to stay aware of the world’s dangers as best as we can, but we need to counter it. We need to stay connected and present and offer something else. We need to be a light. Share our love. Offer a safe space.
So my challenge for you this week (and for the rest of your life!) is to think of your common poses in life. The way you are in daily life, mentally and physically, and try a healthy counterpose. If you have a day of running around, take it easier at night. If you had a lazy day, add some more productive tasks to your evening.
Start simple and see how it affects you. And then let it flow into the other areas of your life. Pose, counterpose, dear readers. It does a body good.