What is the right amount of effort? Should we try hard in our yoga practice, pushing our bodies and minds up to and then past their limits? Should we relax, exerting minimal effort and only pushing ourselves as far as is comfortable?
I am growing to believe that yes, yoga practice takes a tremendous amount of effort, just not in the ways we think. Our culture tends to think of effort as "working hard" and "pushing through." But in a yoga practice this creates distress in the mind, stiffness in the ego and separation between mind and body. While in the practice, our effort should have more ease, more patience, more stillness, gentle focus.
The tremendous effort required in yoga is long-term, in the form of persistence, patience and perseverance. We should practice often; we will never reach a point in our practice where we can stop. But it is easy to lose interest and move on to newer things just as our practice begins to reach the fruitful stages.
If we put our effort into perseverance, we know that we will be back tomorrow to try again, so there is no need to "push" our bodies. The effort is in the lifestyle, not the immediacy. The effort is in humility, not progress.
This journal honors my ongoing experience with the practice, study and teaching of yoga.
1) Sridaiva Yoga: Good Intention But Imbalanced
2) Understanding Chair Posture
2) Why I Don't Use Sanskrit or Say Namaste
3) The Meaningless Drudgery of Physical Yoga
5) Beyond Bikram: Why This Is a Great Time For Ghosh Yoga