Take a comfortable seat. Bend your elbows and bring your arms by your sides, palms up. Close your eyes. Now, in your right hand, imagine something you LOVE. Feel its weight. Smile. In your left hand, imagine something the opposite - somethi...ng you LOATHE. Feel its weight. Keep smiling. Stay
calm. What you are cultivating is a state of equanimity.
Equanimity (aequus - even, animus - mind/soul) is a balanced state of stability and composure which is undisturbed by the experience of emotional, physical or other phenomena, whether ecstatic (good) or traumatic (bad).
Equanimity is a state revered by many spiritualities. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, equanimity (upekshā) is one of the “four sublime attitudes”, along with loving kindness (maitri), compassion (karunā), joy (mudita).
In Hindu thought, equanimity describes the nature of Brahman, the Absolute Reality.
Absolute Reality is just what it sounds like – everything, the All! And Everything encompasses just that, everything – meaning good and bad, and everything in between.
Ironically, to think of things as good and bad, saying we love or loathe something – that is a human judgment. Cultivating a state of equanimity eventually allows us to move beyond our human judgments, our labeling, to a state of simple accepting all that IS.
When we cultivate (and cultivate implies working towards a goal, not necessarily the goal itself) this state of equanimity, when we can remain in balanced, stable, composed when faced with a physical, emotional or other experience, whether ecstatic or traumatic, we are able to experience it from a place of power.
Yoga allows us the space to cultivate this state, and through yoga (yoke, union), we practice the joining of the two – good and bad – without judgment.
My hope for you is, that when we cultivate equanimity on our mats, we can take that state, that lesson, that thought, out into the world, our daily lives, and though we may not remain in that state for always, it is a familiar place that
we can recall and tap into when faced with life’s experiences.
Kristen is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and Life Mentor. She offers online and in-person healing sessions. She lives and teaches in Denver, Colorado