First and foremost, we are thankful. Thankful for each of you. For every member and client, for our teachers, our staff and our beautiful space. We are so thankful to still be here through the hardships of the pandemic. We are thankful for the loyalty, dedication and passion of our beautiful community. So thank you. And Happy Thanksgiving!
Here we are somehow, impossibly, rolling into the holidays. Thanksgiving may be the only time of year we are consciously reminded by the outside world to stop, take stock, and list our gratitudes one by one. It’s a beautiful thing. But the trick is that the rest of the time it’s up to us. At Balance we are always mindful of keeping gratitude at the center of our practice, every day.
It is a practice in and of itself. In fact, it’s really THE practice. Regularly remembering the ways you are thankful is the key to happiness. It’s the piece we are always leading ourselves back to. And yet, it’s elusive. Gratitude is hard to pin down as you move through the everyday. Have you ever breezed out the door in the morning on time only to encounter road work and a detour that takes you to a standstill? You’re probably not sitting behind the wheel counting your blessings. Alternately, how is your gratitude level in class when the teacher instructs you to “just breathe” in plank pose for what feels like way too many breaths? Are you feeling grateful as you squeeze every shaking muscle, dripping sweat, hoping you don’t fall over? Of course not! It’s only when, in closing, the teacher brings you back to finding thankfulness for your body, strength and health that you remember it was a privilege. The practice is in that return.
The more gratitude you cultivate on your mat, the more you carry with you out into the world when your physical practice is done. Now, as we move into dark, busy December, we are being reminded to cultivate as much thankfulness, light and energy as possible to carry with us in our spiritual pockets. As always, Balance is here to help anchor you with all the usual – and some new – ways to strengthen your body, mind and soul.
Blogging through September and October, we’ve been using the chakra system as a guide to connecting to our practice. It’s one of many paths inward as we move with the changes of the seasons. We’ve moved up from the glowing red Root chakra, through the orange of the Sacral chakra and find ourselves at the could-not-be-more-perfect yellow light of the Solar Plexus. The core – the center. The hub that connects the “doing” of the lower chakras to the “feeling/sensing” of the upper.
This is where we harvest the abundance of the immaterial. The love, the gratitude, the spirit. All the things that still light us up in the dark. As you’ve probably noticed with physical fitness, if your core is weak, you’re dead in the water. The bigger muscles of your shoulders and legs are much more useless if you can’t connect and anchor them through your core. It’s the only part of your body that, when strengthened, creates an up-leveled platform for your body to become stronger everywhere else.
And as we enter the “season of giving”, now is the perfect time to bring your focus to your own center. The Solar Plexus chakra is the chakra of personal power. Our self-esteem, identity, and personal strengths are all held here. In moving up the energetic chakra chain of the body, we have finally moved past the basic, Earthly needs and can begin to lean into the spiritual needs of the heart, just above. When our Solar Plexus is strengthened, we can begin to lean into abundance, not just survival. Which (although we now know the actual history is a little twisted) is the essential spirit of Thanksgiving. A strong Solar Plexus is very needed in order to give to others (think hosting, cooking for, gifting, etc) without depleting our own resources.
So ‘tis the season of Pilates and core work! (and pie), breathwork that stretches down into the bottoms of your lungs (and talking over a roomful of people for six hours), chanting the mantra “RAM” for eight minutes as you drive to the grocery store for the 11th time, visually meditating on gathering yellow light between your ribs using breath… and taking a deep one that re-brightens your aura as you walk away from that comment your mother just made…
If you have some time off from your daily grind (and we hope you do!), We at the studio are open for classes tomorrow (Thanksgiving!) morning as well as all day Friday and this weekend. Join us between helpings of leftover turkey sandwiches!
In addition to our usual schedule, we have some very special events and workshops coming up in December and in the New Year including our Member’s Gratitude Night featuring Yin-storative Breathwork with Amy DiLillo on Thursday,12/9 at 6-9 pm. Trish Hart is back with All is Calm! This year with a holiday special twist… Yoga Nidra paired with a Sound Bath, 12/12 at 4-5:30 pm. In the New Year, we are looking forward to Buddhist Teachings with Kim Dwyer, an Intro to Pilates Mat 6 week series with Kate Krumsiek, and Ayurveda for Winter Wellness with Rachel Brodeur.
We hope you are preparing to travel, host or gather this year feeling a little bit of extra novelty and renewed excitement after the restrictions of the past two years. That is, a little bit more gratitude for it all. And if you need to get away to go inward, sweat, breathe, release, restore or just be, we are here to support you – and to help you make that time in your day for gratitude. May we always lead you back to it. To your center. To yourself. To the Practice.
We wish you a beautiful time spent with your loved ones and family – whether born or chosen – and we thank you for being part of ours.
We are grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Balance Studio!