You have to try harder than you think you should have to.

Perhaps it’s a gradual dawning at different times for all of us. Our loved ones in life try not to make the path ahead be seen as being too hard for us. They want to pave the way for us with ease. Who doesn’t love the notion of simply doing all the right things, ticking the boxes, and sailing through life.

It was said to me quite clearly in plank pose. My delightful teacher got down really low to be close to me and said, “Sometimes you have to try harder than you think you should have to. Now hug the midline with your forearms, engage into your finger pads and push down into the earth.” 

I got her. She got me. I did what I was told, and my arms lit up. My entire being lit up. Aha! Engagement. Full participation of all of me. Effort in just the right amount, in just the right places. The symphony played together, there was harmony in action. Welcome to the party, arms. 

From that moment on I did it. I engaged, I focused, I persevered, and now plank pose is effortless. Handstand is getting there, no hurry. 

We call it Tapas in yoga. Tapas translates as burning desire, or sheer perseverance depending on the interpreter of this sanskrit philosophy we follow as yogis. We commit to showing up for yoga, to our practice, and to our best selves on our yoga mats. Again, and again, and again. One more breath, one more moment to pull the thoughts back and focus. We stay focused on our path. 

What happens on the mat flows into life. What challenging human experience can you call to mind that was significant for you? The loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, life-changing news? What was your first thought? ‘No. Make this go away. I can’t do this. It’s too hard.’

But you can, we all can, we are all stronger than we think we are. We might just have to try that little bit harder. 

How? Commit to the small, frequent things you to do connect you to better you. The you you are when you show up on your yoga mat ready to do your best plank pose. Every time you make a wise choice with food, every time you say no thanks to something that you don’t really need. Every time you make regular space for your nourishing behaviours. That’s where you try harder, that’s where you cultivate strength. 

Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, where is there room for greater strength and focus. One small thing? With this ‘trying hard’ path we are consciously walking along, there is a requirement to be multi-focused, and to sweep your gaze gently around all aspects of your life. Check in that everyone at the party is participating well; dose out attention and focus when required. 

We’re never done. We’re never fully grown up. We’ll never shed all the layers from the past. We’re all in this together yogis. The good news is we’re well able. The great news is it’s well worth it. 

“I am not fully healed, I am not fully wise, I am still on my way. What matters is that I am moving forward.” Yung Pueblo.