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July Studio Theme: Don’t Try Hard, Try Easy

Growing up with a mildly Catholic background, the general rule was “If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right!”

If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right!

It wasn’t exactly that everyone around me wanted things in life to be difficult. It was simply that for generations my family lived under extreme pressure and it became the new normal. My father descended from the Irish immigrants escaping the potato blight and my mother’s mother grew up as a refugee in World War II Germany. My parents never had the perspective that life was easy, and that’s the story that was passed along to me growing up.

Combine the generations of laborious living with the high-speed, high-performance messaging of today’s world and you have a recipe for burn out and overwork.

Combine the generations of laborious living with the high-speed, high-performance messaging of today’s world and you have a recipe for burn out and overwork.


I’m under no illusion that there are many things on this planet that require hard work to get them done. I’ve chosen a profession that intersects mind, body, and soul fitness with community and a shared humanity - nearly everything that there is to get done in these domains requires hard work.

The theme for teaching and living at Yoga One this July comes from Baron Baptiste’s 8 Universal Principles for Stepping Up To Your Edge, found in Journey Into Power.

“Don’t Try Hard, Try Easy” is a maxim on how we carry ourselves through the hard work of our life. When I work with students in class or in private instruction, the first response to not trying hard is either a complete giving up or a digging in and trying even harder. As if we straddle the world between doing too much and not doing enough and can only land on either side.

Truly trying easy means making the distinction between effort and ease and discovering that we have nuance and choice in the matter. We have multiple modes of operation in between complete rest and berserker mode. It’s our humanness that allows us to choose what’s required.

Here are a few questions to inspire a shift when you feel overworked.

1. Am I excessively contracting or holding tension in any part of my body?
I frequently check my shoulders, back, neck, and face for undue tension. Just relaxing my face can be the balm for a sticky situation.

2. Am I obsessing over a particular thought? (Obsessing here meaning thinking about the same thing over and over again without the ability to set the thought down and shift focus)

Worry and anxiety can produce a feedback loop of thoughts that blocks out our more intuitive decision-making functions. By checking if I’m running the same message on repeat I can get present to the limited nature of the mind and make a choice to try on a new way of thinking or mindfulness. Worrying thoughts might be valid, but they also impose limits on our options and creativity.

3. Am I carrying a burden that isn’t mine to carry?
Often times I am actually doing the work that is someone else’s to do. I love helping and teaching, yet when I take on processing another person’s issues I step out of the protection of my meditation and yoga practice. Often the best way to support another is to be an example of boundary setting and provide encouragement from our own healthy path.

Truly trying easy means making the distinction between effort and ease and discovering that we have nuance and choice in the matter. 

By identifying how we are carrying ourselves physically and mentally we gain insight into making a shift. Some burdens are meant to be cast off, others are meant to be held lightly. Sometimes we're meant to ask for help! 


Written by Daniel McCall
Daniel has been creating leaders and teachers for over twelve years. He is Executive Manager of Yoga One Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina. He leads yoga teacher training, leadership seminars, and mind-body-soul retreats across the globe.

 


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