effort and surrender
'Through steadfastly abiding in the part of the self that is unchanging, one finds ease within the posture of the moment'
My current reflections about yoga often centre on how I can take my yoga off the mat. Often in our binary world we do one thing and then its opposite. For example, maybe we rush around all day pushing ourselves (effort) and then get home and collapse (surrender).
Effort then surrender
We may even take the same approach to a yoga class, doing strong asana with effort and then fall into shavasan to surrender.
It's the little words that are important here.
Effort AND Surrender.
Both at the same time.
This is my current practice. How can I be engaged and alert, mindful and disciplined, while also being relaxed and at ease?
In my yoga asana it is a bit like a dance between feeling into my body and offering myself to the ground. In my meditation it is remembering to soften the expression on my face whenever bringing my mind back if its wandered.
With my teenage kids, it is a harder thing. The dance is around compassionate love with guidance and stepping back to watch them learn and make mistakes.
In my work it is doing what is required to the best of my ability, and letting go of the outcome of that work. This is not a not-caring, but a surrendering into acceptance of things often outside my control.
Donna Fahri's interpretation of the Yoga sutra above resonates with me for its reminder that there is part of me that is unchanging hat I can surrender into any time I remember. And that part is connected to everything else.
Our well-being is tied up together, and with that of the planet.
I'm focusing my efforts this year on my actions for climate. I think the Earth needs us to show up a little more right now as we are seeing the impacts of climate change. But in this much needed effort, I still want to retain hope and ease and surrender to the part of all of us that is unchanging.
So this year, I have decided to do what I can, which is all any of us can do. I'm reducing my single use plastics and buying bulk in reusable containers where possible and affordable. I'm also making my own cleaning products and going solar and hope to grow more of my own food. I'm also committing to walking through a Park every week so I can appreciate this beautiful land around me. Another example of effort and surrender.
Yoga is very much about our habits of mind and actions, and not a particular sequence of movement we may do once or twice a week. Our efforts on the mat serve our intentions to live our best life in every moment, and to find ease within each moment.
I'm curious, what are you putting effort into? How can you also relax into these things? How do you know when you are putting in too much effort versus not enough? In what ways is surrender easy and in what ways is it difficult.?
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