The first time someone very wise (Tara Stiles!) told me that if something was too hard, it probably wasn’t right, and that perhaps I should consider not doing it (she phrased it much more eloquently), my reaction was: that would be such a lazy way to live life! But, then when I finally started living that way: moving in the direction of things that were coming easily and moving away from things that were a struggle, it was a whole new universe! Life became such a happier, incredible (even, gasp, enjoyable) experience!
Now, I am not saying that finding ease is easy for everyone. It’s not. For those of us who were raised to be type-A, go-getters, alphas, ambitious, call it what you will, letting go of the desire to obtain whatever it is you set out to attain, to change course for what may be a better thing, can be very difficult.
At the beginning of my yoga practice, I was so upright in my wide-legged seated forward fold that the thought of ever coming anywhere near the ground with my forearms, let alone torso was just plain crazy. I was told that if I just kept showing up to my mat, and breathing and trying to let go, that one day (perhaps not in this lifetime, I thought), the muscles would eventually release. So here is the thing: when you see someone flat against the ground in a wide legged forward bend, most likely, they did not get there because their first go at it, it just happened. They are easy in their forward bends because they took the time to show up to their mat, to their body: they took the time to find their breath, and they allowed for their body to let go. One day, after showing up to my mat every day for many months and not pushing or pulling to desperately get to the ground (which I certainly did at the beginning), my muscles simply released with my breath as I moved forward, and there I was, on the ground. It didn’t change my life, but it was neat to see that showing up and not forcing does create change.
There was a time when I used to get incredibly annoyed when people would constantly say to me, “Oh, it’s so easy for you, you never had to struggle” or “You are so lucky, because you are so naturally flexible” or “Must be nice to have the genetics to be so muscular”. Really? Who actually believes that anyone just waltzes into a yoga studio for the first time, or anywhere in life, with the innate ability to do anything? In order to win the lottery, one has to buy a lottery ticket, right? In order to find ease, one has to practice ease; for some people, that is a lot of work. Ease might not “just happen”, especially if you are impatient to “be easy”. For many people, finding ease takes working through a lot of old, long-instilled patterns, and letting go of ideas or habits that no longer suit his or her current life.
My yoga practice is a constant evolution: a balancing act. I show up, every day, and I work with what I have in any given moment. I take the small steps to strengthen, lengthen, open and release. I do what feels right, what feels “easy”, and I have learned to dial back, and steer clear of anything that doesn’t feel right. To me, there is nothing lazy about that.
Practice showing up for yourself: every day. Practice ease. That is when real change can happen. Ease may not come easily to everyone, but ease is easy if you let it be. What do you think? Do you think that “following the path with less resistance” is lazy? Is ease easy for you?