Strength without rigidity, relaxation without collapse.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. 

At any given moment on our yoga mats we can make a decision to either try harder and cultivate more strength, effort and determination or to withdraw, to soften, relax and try a little less hard. The same is true of life. The difficulty is knowing when to do which. How do we know?

On our yoga mats we practice harmony of effort. Ideally we are exactly in the middle space between trying and relaxing. Simultaneously, we experience effort and surrender. How do we know what is appropriate for the moment we face? We listen, we listen to the breath. If the breath is rushed, agitated, perturbed then we slow down. Listening to the breath also pulls us away from the place of dull, lethargic or not trying hard enough. Listening to the breath regulates us. 

What is important, what needs effort? Stability, your foundation, your base. Make effort to be solid in the places you touch down. What else? Your midline, the alignment of your spine. Length, integration and just enough strength to keep you engaged but light. Remember, we need to learn how to soften without collapsing. Herein lies the practice, seeking harmony of effort in this space. Let your breath be your guide here.

What’s not important, what needs to go? Pushing anything too hard, trying to hard, shaking, gripping, tension … all of these things we strive to let go of.  

And then, maybe for a breath or two or more, we find ourselves in that beautiful space between effort and effortless. 

"By cultivating strength without rigidity and relaxation without collapse in your asanas you are helping create a balanced imprint on your nervous system. You are training your mind and body to be awake and calm regardless of the external circumstances." Jason Crandell. 

Thoughts inspired by Jason Crandall, experience and wisdom inspired by yoga. Get on your mats yogis, figure it out there and let it spill out into the rest of your life, effortlessly, from there. 

Namaste, Sylvia. 


Sylvia Ferguson