Balance is Hard

By Andrea Garcia

I often call balance the “great equalizer” of yoga; no matter how strong or how bendy you are, balance is HARD. One of the things I often remind students (and myself) is that balance isn’t holding completely still. In order to balance we have to be able to move and flex to compensate for disturbances. While I often experience balance challenges on my mat, I tend to struggle even more with balance off of it.

I feel the need to be always on and available for my clients. If there’s a notification on my phone, I’ll check it and do the thing being asked of me. If there is empty space on my calendar, I’ll fill it. If someone asks me to do something, I will say yes. Now that challenge is magnified by my “office” being three steps away from the bedroom and the couch seeming like a good place to answer a few emails at night. While all of this can sound like the productivity dream, it is a quick route to burnout and less than stellar performance. So how does someone learn to balance?

There are so many articles, books, and schools of thought on Work-Life Balance, I’ve read theories proposing that it’s a myth and we can completely intermingle the two; I’ve read articles establishing explicit, non-negotiable lines; then there is the multitude of stances between the two extremes. Here’s what works for me: 

Define your value hierarchy

Part of establishing balance is figuring out what the heck you’re trying to balance. Christen Bakken, a Power Life friend and occasional visiting teacher, suggests writing down the things that are most important to you and committing to making time for them each day or each week. My non-negotiables: 

  • Time to practice – five times a week
  • Time to write – three times a week
  • Time to read – minimum 30 minutes, three times a week
  • Time to connect with: 
    • a friend – coffee, a drink, or an outdoor activity once per week
    • family/significant other – flexible based on the week/day

When I know what I value most I can make decisions according to these values. I am also better prepared to make decisions that support these values. For example: because I value my practice, I put my phone/watch on Do Not Disturb and leave it in my bag so I can be on my mat without buzzes and dings to distract me. 

Schedule it out

I live for a good calendar situation. Each Sunday I sit down and review the big things happening that week and work obligations. Essentially, I outline what absolutely must happen this week for my work to be finished and what things I can do to get a headstart on upcoming projects. I take time to browse the Power Life app and look for classes over lunch/early evening that work best, now that we have a few outdoor class options I’ll check the weather forecast to see if I can get some sunshine with my savasana. I can add the classes right to my calendar from the app which means I won’t schedule over them or forget to make it to my mat. Then I fill in time for the things I value, taking a few moments to sit down and write things down gives me a good picture for my week.

Each morning when I get to my desk I write down three things that absolutely must happen that day for it to be a success and three things I am grateful for. This gives me a good, consistent base to work from week to week and day to day. My planner has space for monthly, weekly, and daily outlines. I’m also a big fan of my Google calendar. Want to grab coffee or lunch? Cool! You’ll get a calendar invite from me so I’m always accountable for how I spend my time. 

Use What You Have

Have you ever looked at your screen time usage on your phone? I have. It is SHOCKING. While technology can signal the desire to be on all the time, it also has valuable tools to help me dis-engage from my screen. Within the screen time section of iPhones you can set time limits each day based on app type or individual app. I set mine on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. The authors of Make Time suggest turning off ALL phone notifications. While that suggestion felt bigger than I was ready for, I did decide to compromise and turn off email notifications. I know that sounds scary because your brain shouts “WHAT IF SOMEONE NEEDS ME IMMEDIATELY??????” well, Brain, they can call or text if it’s an *actual* emergency. I also set BedTime mode on my phone, every night from 10 pm until 6 am the next morning, my phone is automatically on Do Not Disturb without me physically doing it. These three things have dropped my pickups and screen time by 30% over the last month. 

While there are productivity apps out there like Forest and Freedom I’ve found the Pomodoro Method most helpful in focusing my energy. In the Pomodoro Method we focus on one task (no multitasking!) for 25 minutes, then take a 5 minute break. I use my 5 minute break to take a quick walk around the office…and maybe scroll Instagram. Being home more often can lead to really interesting Pomodoro rabbit holes. If I use my 5 minute break to start a load of laundry all of a sudden I’m rearranging my spice rack. That’s where Deep Work comes in. Once or twice a day I schedule a Deep Work session to block out distractions and hone in on a big task or project. 

Be willing to flex

We often think of balance as standing stick still, but the ability to balance is truly our ability to manage fluctuation under stress. Balance on our mats is a function on many things including water intake, the work you’ve already done, the time of day. Most often, when I see someone fall out of a balancing posture, it’s because they overcorrect from a wobble. We sometimes forget balance off our mats is a function on many different inputs and when we falter, it is often because we overcorrect. We have to be willing, and able, to ride the fluctuations. You are your best guide in your own balance here, when we start to notice our own patterns we can begin to build around them. 

Have a tip or trick that works for you? I’d love to hear them! Share in the comments or @ me on Twitter/Instagram AKGarcia331 

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Built with 🤍 by Blink Wellness

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About Kirk: 

Kirk was working 80-hour weeks and wearing his shoulders as earrings when he found yoga in 2005. Forever the competitive athlete, he loved the physicality of yoga. When the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga were exposed to him, Kirk was hooked. Yoga provided him with what other activities couldn’t -- the ability to foster the benefits of practice both on and off of the mat. Yoga was something that Kirk could bring into all aspects of his life. 

Kirk knows that yoga can be intimidating, so he crafts a class that is playful and inviting, while still being challenging and safe. His creatively planned classes build strength and flexibility in your body and mind while establishing clarity, giving you more confidence to overcome obstacles in your life, and keeping you injury-free. His classes are themed with a message that is relatable and will inspire you to take it with you off your mat. Kirk has been teaching yoga since 2008 and lead his first teacher training in 2012. Where Kirk truly shines is in coaching, developing and bringing out the best in others.  

Kirk enjoys traveling (40+ countries to date!), snowboarding, and cherishes time with his wife and two daughters. 

About Christen: 

Christen Bakken’s yoga journey began in 1998 in a Bikram studio that provided a safe and secure place to practice. She saw the yoga mat as a place to remember her purpose and a place to play. As she continued her studies and began her journey to teaching in 2006, Christen infused yoga classes with devotion and the yoga mat became a place of personal transformation and healing. Her classes are filled with laughter, song, sweat, and usually heart openers. In 2013, Christen began training yoga teachers. This is the place where she finds the most joy - in community with folks looking to grow and be of greater service in their homes, on their mats, and in the world. Over the years, she has led trainings in Denver, the Midwest, Florida, and now abroad. She has trained in continuing education modules, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour programs. Beyond the mat, Christen is a passionate adventure seeker - she loves to bike, snowboard, and spend time with her husband and pups. She sees each day as a blessing and hopes to remind all who interact with her of this truth.  

Two Light Studio Parking Information

We validate parking for THREE garages in the area!

  • Two Light garage located directly north of the studio. Please bring your ticket inside for validation.

  • Three Light garage at Main and Truman. Garage entrance on Truman. Please bring your ticket inside for a validation sticker.

  • Power & Light garage at 13th and Grand. Please ask for a parking pass at the studio front desk. (Hot tip: the Power & Light garage has a ton of space! But be sure to give yourself a little extra time to walk to the studio.)

If you find that you are running a couple minutes late due to parking, please call the studio to let the instructor know to wait for you before locking the doors.

Blackstone Studio Parking

  • We have partnered with our friends at Greenslate to provide 1 hour and 15 minute validated parking for Power Life students in the lot at 36th and Harney (just south of the Cottonwood Hotel). Read below to learn how to take advantage of this perk:

    • Step 1: Scan the QR code located in the lot.

    • Step 2: Select your destination (i.e. “yoga studio”).

    • Step 3: Ask for the validation code at the Blackstone studio front desk and enter it on your phone.

    • Step 4: You are all set! Have fun at class!

    Please note:

    • The validation provided by Power Life and Greenslate is for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Need to add additional time to your parking space? You can do that conveniently from your phone!

    • This option is valid once per day per license plate.

    • Please do NOT park in the Crescent Moon lot − you will be towed!

East Village Studio Amenities

  • There is a paved lot and gravel lot on the West side of the building.

  • Meters on Court and 4th (by Peace Tree) for $0.25/hour, 9am-9pm Mon. – Sat. 12-hour max

  • Meters on 4th (to the North) for $1.25/hour. Mon – Sat. 4-hour max.

  • All meters are free on Sundays and major holidays.

Balance is Hard Info