I see people getting frustrated in my hot classes. They look around the room, like, did she seriously just ask us to do that? Or, it’s too hot in here, right? I understand, because finding that sweet spot between effort and ease is hard for me, too. In yoga we try to balance sthira and sukha; we are firm and resolute in our muscles and minds, but happy and open in our spirits. Sometimes we get sloppy and lazy and lose our strong effort. Sometimes we try too hard, get angry and distracted, and lose our “good space.”
When you walk into the yoga session, don’t expect it to be easy. Don’t expect it to be hard, either. Instead of having expectations, just focus on your own right effort, and your own happiness and ease within it. Put your ego in its place. Watch where your practice loses its balance during class, and make the appropriate adjustment. “I can’t do this! This sucks,” means bring your focus back to your own mat, not worrying about anyone else. That chatter in your brain is what we’re working to still. If you are just going through the motions, mindlessly flowing about, return to right effort. Vinyasa means “the act of setting an intention and taking steps to reach it.” So move deliberately, cultivating strength and courage.
As Sensei Donato Helbling says, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” So practice being your best self on your mat! And remember: it’s ok for things to be hard. If everything was easy, we’d never grow.