life is a practice…

life is a practice of holding on and letting go…

laguna 1

i remind myself of this often but it has been a frequent reminder to myself as of late. it seems when we are most stressed, when life is already challenging, when we are at the brink of falling to pieces that even more challenges come our way. you know the saying, “when it rains it pours”, and for some of us it’s not just a drizzle but a torrential down pour.

for some reason this time of year always seems heavier. more difficult. filled with tension and confusion. perhaps it’s the change in weather, shorter days with less daylight. the holiday seasons approaching. i sense the same struggle, the same holding on in others around me as i see in myself and it always brings me back to the same words.

effort and ease. balance. holding on and letting go

in asana practice, we must find balance – sthira sukham (effort and ease). practicing each pose with  effort and stability combined with grace and ease. when we practice asana with effort alone, we strain, hold our breath, create heaviness and tension. if we practice asana solely with ease, we lose the stability, balance and strength of the pose. when we can achieve a posture with these opposing qualities, holding the pose, but at the same time letting go, both body and mind feel centered and light. 

this concept not only applies to yoga but our lives as well. if we spend each moment in constant effort, holding on- gripping, wanting, doing, there is no ease. we are not able to settle into the joy of our experiences. we lose track of the moment and spend all of our time looking toward the future rather than living in the present and we inadvertently invite tension and struggle into our lives. when we are in a constant state of holding on, a constant state of effort, we wear out our bodies and our nervous systems, often times resulting in poor health, anxiety and the inability to cope with the day to day stressors of life.

if we were to only live life with ease, there would be no effort. no passion. no motivation to be the best we can be. if we lack effort, we become complacent and stagnant. stagnation leads to weak immune systems, depression, poor health and we miss out on the joy and excitement of life.

life is a practice of holding on and letting go.

when we are able to live with a balance of effort and ease, we experience life with a combination of stability, surrender, strength, grace, presence and peace. when we are more balanced we invite more balance into our lives and when life’s challenges come our way we are more able to cope emotionally and move past them more quickly and easily.

when i begin to feel this tension building, this holding on, this straining, i go back to my yoga practice. i go back to my breath. i retreat to nature in order to cultivate more ease in my life.

these photo’s were taken  at one of my favorite places. you can read more about it here. i’m wearing my favorite recycled water bottle, eco-friendly yoga pants – read more about them here. did you know the color blue elicits a sense of peace and calmness? i alway feel more at ease when i am looking up at the sky or gazing at the deep blue sea.

what do you do to cultivate a balance of effort and ease in your life?

laguna 2

i’m hoping with more focus on our own inner balance and peace we can collectively cultivate more of the same in the world around us. here’s to a more balanced, peaceful and harmonious world.

much love, Shawnee

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