When you can create a balance between work and play, you feel fulfilled and happy.
I can get very focused on work. I love my work, and it brings me a lot of joy and fulfillment. But I tend to overschedule myself, and neglect getting out into nature to play and enjoy the world. This weekend, we took some time away to visit our son and spent a lot of time outdoors, enjoying the woods, and observing wildlife. It really brought us into our hearts and allowed me to clear my mind. I realize that I need to spend more time playing outside!
Studies have shown that spending time outdoors, especially doing physical activity like walking or jogging, is beneficial for the brain for problem solving. Precisely because it takes your mind off the thing it is working on and allows it to process the information differently.
In Yoga philosophy, there is a balance between Karma and Lila. Karma is the idea that everything happens for a reason, as the result of other actions. This is kind of like work. Lila is the Divine Play of the Universe- the idea that anything can happen at any time. We can’t successfully live our lives entirely in one or the other. We can’t be all work and no play, or the other way around.
When you create a healthy balance between work and play, you enter the heart, the Madhya, the midline, and you remember that you are connected to Karma and Lila. You have the capacity for both, and both are necessary. This balanced place in the middle is wonderful and it brings you back to your true nature which is joyful and peaceful.
Here’s a brief meditation you can practice for helping to create balance:
Sit tall and close your eyes.
Connect to your breath. Watch your breath for at least 30 seconds.
Turn your attention inward to your heart, and see if your heart is asking for more work, or more play. Set your intention to create a better work/play balance in your life.
Chant OM to seal your intentions.
Remember, meditating about balance isn’t going to magically make it happen, you’ll need to take action to bring your intentions to life! Schedule some play time onto your calendar. As author Jana Kingsford says, “Balance isn’t something you find, it’s something you create.” I hope that you find that your practice of yoga helps you create balance for yourself, both on and off the yoga mat. This is the higher purpose of the practice, to create the life you want for yourself, to experience joy and freedom (it has nothing to do with touching your toes.)