Sunday, June 3, 2012

Balancing Effort and Surrender

So often I come to my mat with my own personal struggles tagging along. Funny how we can work out some of our issues on our mat! Lately what has been on my mind is finding that balance of surrender and effort. I tend to lean towards the effort and the strength part. For me if I can just try harder, if I can just push a little further, if I just do a little more then surely I will get this pose or figure out this problem or get what I am striving for. Often times this can work but not always to our advantage. Effort is wonderful and we surely need some austerity when we come to our mat. Hard poses or poses held so that they become difficult require effort to sustain. Coming to your mat when you would rather skip or just don't feel it but you come anyway..that requires effort. Let's face it practicing yoga requires effort and strength and power and energy at times. But, too much of this can leave us feeling depleted and tired. We can "run out of steam" and where does that lead us...well right to the next topic..Surrender.

Surrender, requires not a lot. It requires more of our mind to let go and allow what is to be without having to change it. It is ease, it is lightness, it is a deep is not so easy for some of us. It is going for that challenging pose and then allowing it to happen or not to happen. It is getting into that long hold of a pose and just being there without trying to make it easier, harder or anything other than just the pose. It is the relinquishing of that strong forceful energy and the moving and flowing of that more gentle, nourishing energy. It though cannot be everything because in excess this turns us into mush. We come to our may and just go through the motions. It can make us feel like just "giving in or giving up". It makes us compromise..."It is ok if I do not challenge myself because after all it is yoga and I don't have to do anything hard." Maybe so but some days our practice needs a little balance and dance between the two.

Most days we need to come to our mat with energy and the drive of potential. We come to create and to see what the present practice will bring to us. But then as we begin we pause and allow the practice to unfold. This requires us to set aside our ambition and desires perhaps and just be in our bodies. Accepting that some days are not our best days..we may fall out of balance in every pose or we may have the most grounded and rooted practice ever. We don't know or care, we are just in the practice and whatever unfolds is just right. We cultivate contentment in what is.

So, as I notice my tendency to push in my life and force outcomes I stop and remember that surrender aspect. Maybe I do my best and give effort towards my intentions and then gracefully bow to the karmic forces of my life as it unfolds and try to cultivate that contentment in what is for now. After all it is all a dance...

Contentment comes as the infallible result of great acceptances,
great humilities--of not trying to make ourselves this or that,
but of surrendering ourselves to the fullness of
life--of letting life flow through us.
David Grayson

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