A definition of yoga could be the continuum that spans and contains both extremes simultaneously, balancing at the center. The equal and opposite polarities complementing and defining each other rather than canceling each other out.
We experience this with physical hatha yoga asana…finding the place where the pairs of opposites come into balance ~ left and right, front and back, grounding down to find leverage to lift up with ease, expanding out from and holding strength at the center, strength and flexibility, inhale and exhale…each pair two sides of the same thing. In this balance, the posture becomes self supporting and active effort can relax. And as the yoga sutras and other teachings suggest, when we bring ourselves into this balance, spontaneous presence, effortless awareness, a meditative state, pure consciousness, a deep underlying silence, spaciousness, insight, arises.
The events of my life often embody this principle, equal and opposite extremes balancing each other. Either side alone feels almost overwhelming, yet together they make a balance that brings insight. Perhaps this is life, and sometimes it is more obvious than others.
These pinnacle times, like physical yoga, give us the experience of the potential of this balance. All sides of the spectrum, simultaneous, defining rather than canceling each other out.
We are the synthesis, the balance that holds all extremes.