I’ve had the most amazing “lightness of being” experiences recently. I was doing my daily yoga routine in the morning, and just as I was finishing, I organically flowed into the sweetest backbend of my life. Not only did I go further than I’ve ever gone before, but my body felt light as air and I felt absolutely no resistance in my back (which I normally do). Later on that day, I went for a run and had the same experience running – I felt so light on my feet and in my body and I felt as if I was floating around the reservoir. These activities seemed effortless.
In Yoga, we talk about the balance between effort and ease. Yoga Sutra 2.46 teaches us
Sthira = steady, stable
sukham = comfortable, easy, pleasant
asanam = posture, presence
Asana is a steady, comfortable posture
I often tell my students, if I see you strain or struggle, you are not doing yoga. That does not mean to say that we should not challenge ourselves, on and off the mat. Unfortunately, however, we often struggle way too much with certain poses or activities, perhaps pushing ourselves beyond where we ought to be.
Can we hold a pose steady without our ego getting in the way; without thoughts of our weaknesses or body aches? It’s like swimming. It is difficult if you struggle against the water. But if you just glide along with the rhythm of the water, it becomes effortless.
Yoga occurs when we achieve that posture with steady effort when we surrender with the breath and awareness. This is when we feel the ease. This comes not only from the practice of the postures but from a healthy body and mind. Toxic bodies and thoughts will certainly get in the way of achieving this balance. For me, I think my daily practice and meditation along with a healthy lifestyle has led me to this lightness of being.
Taking this lesson off the mat, how can you find lightness of being? How can you balance the effort of everyday life with ease?
Breathe. We can control so much of our reactions to life with this simple, amazing gift that we all possess at our fingertips at any moment. If something seems difficult, breathe deeply and notice the lightness.
Let the little things go. People who struggle often fight over little things. We obsess over things that don’t really matter. We create resistance instead of letting things glide off us. Let the little things go, breathe and move on to the important things.
Be gentle with everyone, especially yourself. When your interactions with others come from a place of love and compassion, the differences and the effort melt away.