If you’ve been practicing at Sol Power Yoga lately, you may have noticed some messages around effort and ease. Maybe you even picked up two new sanskrit words: sthira (effort) and sukha (ease).
For quite awhile I imagined sthira and sukha a lot like a pendulum or the tides – a swinging between exertion and rest. And I assumed these yogic principles were inviting me to balance how much time I spent in each state.
But some finer subtleties are coming alive for me now. First, an invitation to find the ease within efforts. Whether that is a pose or a posture or an attitude, are there ways we can approach our work with lighter hearts – perhaps, for example, with less expectation for certain outcomes? If so, the efforts themselves can be just as, if not more, effective – but far less taxing.
The second realization came by way of a run. On a whim, I decided to see how it felt to run while forming Uddiyana Bandha, that belly lock we use in yoga class when we draw the navel toward our spine. The result was surprising. I felt lighter on my feet and it became easier to run faster.
What I learned that day was that not only can ease be found tucked away inside effort, but that some efforts actually create ease.
A few examples come to mind. Exercising the discipline to eat healthy and tend to our physical yoga practice engenders greater health, generating more energy for us to serve with greater stamina. Putting forth the effort to meditate each morning gives us the clarity to prioritize wisely, reducing stress and allowing us to move through the day with greater ease. The list goes on and on.
Take a moment to reflect. Which of your efforts are creating ease in your life? Consider, too, which are not. Why bother? So you can move through life with greater ease, grace, and enjoyment.