Have you ever had that feeling that there was just so much to do?
Maybe even that there just wasn’t enough (time, energy, money)?
As it feels like our world’s keep speeding up and challenges seem to arise left, right and center it can be easy to fall into a trap of more.
Being more, doing more, spending more, more, more, more, more.
More is not the answer.
To find a balance less is the answer.
Less effort, less pushing, less driving yourself.
What is less is the new more?
Lets delve into this a little.
The importance of balance
In Yoga, we are seeking to find a balance. not just in tree pose but in all aspects of our being.
You may have heard of concepts like yin & yang. That all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposites, for example, female-male, dark-light and old-young. The pairs of equal opposites attract and complement each other. Neither is superior to the other and, as an increase in one brings a corresponding decrease in the other, a correct balance between the two poles must be reached in order to achieve harmony.
In essence to find a feeling of balance within ourselves we must give balance to our actions- when we feel we are giving out more- it is the time to allow ourselves to also receive.
One of the interesting aspects I have been observing recently as a teacher is the incredible amount of effort that students try to bring into class. They are exerting more, with an intent to get more. Often when they are in a place where they don’t have much to give from.
What if less is what is most beneficial at that time.
Creating less tension, by softening to allow space.
Creating more movement, by giving less effort.
Creating more energy from the class, by doing less.
When we relax, the flow of blood increases around our body giving us more energy. It helps us to have a calmer and clearer mind which aids positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making. Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension.
Integrating more moments of calm and relaxation into our lives has very real and incredibly important outcomes for us physically, mentally and energetically.
It is incredibly interesting reading the research regarding the influences on our hormonal systems from our Yoga practice and their corresponding effects on our lives such as weight loss, strength gains, mental clarity & memory improvement. Under research the practice is often more of what we would perceive as a ‘softer’ practice rather than a more physically exerting one. There is also the corresponding research of where more exertion based sessions do the complete opposite for us.
Hence, at times when you may be feeling overwhelmed or tired, bringing a sense of ease to your practice is often much more beneficial than pushing physically hard. https://www.adaptedyogaandpilates.com/learn-to-relax/
But I just love pushing myself
To be completely honest I get it.
All my life having a work ethic was drilled into me. Working harder for longer, has been a really effective strategy for so much of my life- sport & professionally. The challenge was that the more I pushed myself and emptied the tank, the more some other really important things in my life deterioated. My relationships & my health.
I love the ‘hurt locker’, the place where everything hurts and your brain is just telling you to stop and then you find a little bit more! This place has taught me so very, very much, and yes, we have all met those people who would really benefit from working a bit harder!!!
I also love the space, awareness, connection and insight that I find when I allow softness, relaxation and calm into my practice. It can also be a really hard thing to allow for. When you are conditioned to a no pain no gain mindset, it can nearly be uncomfortable to be comfortable. All I can say is give it some time and practice. As it is also a skill/habit which needs to be practiced, to look for comfort. As to which being able to work hard and push your body and mind to new limits is as well.
Hence why we keep talking about balance.
Like Yin and Yang, work hard & restore/relax are not superior to one another. They need to be in balance.
As with anything if you would like a bit of help exploring this feel free to chat we can help you out!