Last Thursday I presented on a panel of wellness practitioners at the fabulous Women + Wealth event in NYC. Did I mention, to a vibrant crowd of 200-250 people (hello nerves)!?
Our theme for the evening was wealth and health, so I chose to speak about the topic of balance, something I'd say most people want and associate with health and well-being.
For starters I gave a few examples of how yin and yang energies balance each other. For example, did you know that one balancing solution for having trouble falling asleep at night (yin), is to get out in the early morning sunlight (yang) for 20 minutes? And of course we know how important rest, sleep and unplugged down time (yin) are for replenishing our energies so we can be more productive and energetic (yang) on the flip side.
The point is, balance is dynamic. It's not about achieving some optimal static state, but rather incorporating more into our lives that nurtures both sides of any given spectrum; i.e. give + take, empty + fill, in + out, you + me, etc.
At Women and Wealth things got most fun when I asked everyone to stand up to practice this little counter-balancing stretching exercise (Not as much fun as when resident dance and fitness instigator Emily Grant got us up dancing at the end of the night but still nice to get everyone's butts out of their seats for the first time in an hour).
Dynamic balance can easily be applied to our body posture as well. And when we do, it can make a huge difference in the amount of tension we carry. Since most of us spend the majority of our time slouching with our shoulders hunched forward in what my teacher calls "slump-asana", this simple stretch acts as a great counterpose. In this case, balancing front + back.
Pro-tip: hold for at least 1 minute for full effect and practice daily. You can do it while waiting for a train, walking down the street, or otherwise killing time. Everyone has a minute!
Not only does it help stretch open your chest muscles, but by slackening your upper back muscles, blood will flow to those otherwise tight, overstretched muscles in back, helping to restore balance and release tension.
Now here's the thing. This is just what I brought to the party. My fellow practitioners also taught me so much and gave me many great reminders about health and wellness that I want to share with you.
These are my top 5 takeaways:
1. C/o Kristen Joseph, owner of Mind Body Aware Pilates Studio: The number one thing you can do for your well-being is to get to know yourself. That's where the answers are.
2. C/o Dr Jill Baron, integrative physician: The best way to get yourself to make positive health changes is to be deeply connected with your "why". Knowing what to do isn't enough. Your motivation will come when you have a meaningful "why".
3. Talk about balance...Movement and meditation are 2 complementary practices that make for a well life, and can profoundly shift your energy, even in just a minute! A little can go a long way.
4. C/o Angela Singer of Healthie: Small steps have power to them. Adding any positive thing however small can have a ripple effect.
5. Finally, you must know that our host, Fradel Barber is a financial boss, entrepreneurial badass and totally inspiring mother of 2. If you want to have a smart, empowering conversation about money, savings, investments, retirement, and having it all, she's your person.
I hope YOU "take away" something from these insights. And if you do, please share YOUR takeaways in the comments.