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Saturday, December 26th, 2009

Do we have to work hard for it all to balance out?

by Jaime Tam

Monkey bars, dance shows and tumbling all around the living room…. at 5 years old my parents knew I needed some safe instruction and sent me off to gymnastics. My dad brought me to a good school where the coaches there soon encouraged me to become a competitive team member. Cartwheels with no hands, backbends and big swings, high on the uneven bars opened the door for many fascinating physical feats and possibilities for me at young age. I started competing at age 7 and my passion for becoming a gymnast and learning these new disciplines is what fueled my every waking day. With lots of spinach and an eager heart, my ability to excel had continued to grow. I remember the days when I could hardly wait til the bell rang at the end of a school day simply to chalk up and try something new in the big gym. With time, tenacity and dedication I explored greatness within my little flexible form. There was actually a time I could never imagine not being a gymnast, as I ate, breathed and adored my practice. Time as we know it, brings about lots of changes and sinuous curves in our ever so transformative trail that we walk in life.

I ended up with a few ankle and wrist injuries, broken parts that healed well with time. Yet the front tumbling pass that launched me a little to high and left me coiled in a painful space at the gym floor, showed me an injury at my right ankle that may not recover so quickly. I was 14 and this bad break, fixed up with some painful realignment, metal pins and a cast with cruches for almost 3 months, told me it may be time to seek a new path to explore. Funny how injuries usually grant us the unique time to reflect deeply, listen and learn a new aspect of self, that we normally do not acknowledge at any other moment. It is much like being left alone with a book of our own inner wisdom and not a single distraction to pull you away. The story becomes sensationally personal and more poignant than ever before.

jaimetam-treeposeAhh, and then there comes the message, the why, the how, the reason to it all. For me at this time I became aware that I was due to shift gears…yes, become an Artist. It was my body and mind’s way of balancing out the amount of exertion and energy I had been channeling into merely one place. When we neglect the creative capacities of the mind by predominantly depending on the physical strength of the body, then the mind tends to become neglected. The same goes for when the mind is flooded with obstacles and mental challenges and there lies no form of physical release to express emotion, detox, sweat and move the body into a state of freedom. With this bit of insight, I continued with my path as an Artist. I carried my creative vision to college, upstate New York at Suny New Paltz and then to JCU, Queensland Australia, where my physical health and mental health intertwined quite naturally. I became very involved with a West African dance troupe and later a flying trapeze company that taught me how to fly high in the sky. It was like my muscle memory as a gymnast never went away. The trapeze was like gymnastics in pure open space while, landing on my 2 feet was supplemented for falling onto my spine with an open heart in a lofty net. I began to adapt very well with the nature of movement of my body and the academic capacities of my mind. It seemed as though my right brain and left brain actually became good friends and the nature of expression and mindfulness were like that of a Libra, in good harmony and at peace. That esssence of balance is often discovered, appreciated and honored when we find it. It also inevitably becomes lost and found again, like a walk on a tight rope, wavering from side to side. Fortunately, I have listened to my mind and body and found that in doing so I can gage my edge, my limits and also become my own healer by applying preventative medicine, rest, recharge and positive thought to my every transition and shifting of gears. This is something we all do and can do, by simply taking the sacred time to check in and find it. I have found that practicing yoga has served me a bright and healthy means of bathing in the balance of the mental and physical aspects of my temple. Although I’ve learned all things practiced in moderation, even a yoga practice! Achieving the balance can be quite difficult as we live in a time when there is a high demand to conquer, complete, embrace, solve and find, all that we are here to do on the planet. So the question is, do we have to work so hard to see it all balance out? Sometimes we think that it is necessary to work out in a physical way more than 2x a day. Some work out sessions can run a few hours long or longer and leave the exerter exhausted. The same goes goes for taking on too many tasks, agenda and weight in the mind. Is there such a thing as small doses and keeping it light? Less is more, this is certainly true. As for a physical practice, I have adapted to doing what I love, expressing myself, releasing endorphins through yoga, dancing, hiking and biking. Yet I choose to not overdue like I have done in the past. I have found that little bits done consistently go a long way. 3 enjoyable practices of movement a week or 20 minutes a day beats an extreme training once every 3 weeks. The same goes for a big hearty meal at the end of a long day, opposed to grazing, eating green and passing fluids through the body all day long. Little bits of nutrition taken all throughout the day is very invigorating to our body’s digestive system. Keeping it active, not overworked!

Although, Thanksgiving turkey dinner may be a rare exception! Staying true to your own sense of balance jaimetam2-headshotwith the needs and requests of your mind and body is really the only way. Only you know your limits and your edge more than anyone else, just as You are the one who can heal from within. My blog today suggests that we avoid overexhertion, do less and know that acting small and consistent can really bring big results. Afterall, I can still do cartwheels, and fit in my highschool jeans.

Less is More, Consistency is Key!

Heal and Inspire!


Jaime Tam is a talented artist, ethnic-fusion dancer and a spiritual yoga instructor. She performs in various venues specializing in middle-eastern dance, tribal-trance dance, Polynesian fire dance and a vivid, live canvas painting performance. When Jaime is not performing at special events she is teaching her Expressive Yoga-Dance classes here in Las Vegas and worldwide! Jaime is a member of the Human Touch Health and Wellness Council and enjoys relaxing in her Human Touch Zero-Gravity Massage Chair everyday.