Humans have an innate desire to strive for balance.

A balanced diet, a balanced mix of work and play, a balanced group of people to spend time with — a balanced lifestyle.

Today my yoga instructor said balance is often confused with being perfect. And I confuse the two often.

To achieve balance, you must have the losses and the victories, my yogi leader read from A Year of Living Your Yoga: Daily Practices to Shape Your Life. Each practice my instructor brings in a different book for the day’s lesson or focus.

Today’s focus was balance and concentration.

A mental test to solely think about the practice in order to achieve balance — not in life, but in our physical bodies through a series of standing and sitting poses. I took a trip inside my body to clear my mind and balance on one foot.

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

A well-known, basic pose we did is tree pose.

1. You start standing feet shoulder width apart, hands by your side.

2. On the exhale, you lift one foot up to the ankle, calf, or upper thigh – depending on what you can handle for the day. (Important note: yoga is all about what you can handle for the day – no matter how far you went yesterday or in previous practices). The other foot is solidly rooted to the ground.

3. Inhale bringing your arms into prayer position, and if your feeling ambitious raise your arms up over head to give your shoulders a stretch.

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

During the class we also got down on our mats and did seated balance poses. A simple one was shoulder stand.

1. Lying on your back, lift your legs up to a 90 degree angle and then place them over your head.

2. Straighten your spine and place your hands above your sacrum for support.

3. Lift your legs and hips up and try to straighten out.

4. Hold and breathe.

The inversion brings fresh blood to the head, immediately clearing your mind.

The balancing poses today made it hard to focus on anything else, but Untied, my boyfriend, and San Diego (my far-off, much-loved home) still managed to creep into my thoughts, breaking my concentration. And so I continue on my quest for mental clarity.

Yoga high: 0.5