Tara Stiles is the founder of Strala Yoga in Manhattan and author of Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga (Rodale). Tara is also personal yoga instructor to Deepak Chopra and has been called a “yoga rebel” by the New York Times. She has inspired a wide audience around the world with her down-to-earth approach to yoga, awareness, nutrition, and well-being.
Happy Monday everyone. Hope you all had a great weekend.
When our schedules get filled up, whether it’s with work, family, or training for an event, there is a secret weapon we can pull out to kick up our endurance without stressing out, frying out, or wearing out. Finding the ease.
When you find the ease and stay with it when you’re performing your sport, working your job, or being with friends or family, you’re relaxed, focused, and in the present moment. When you are in the present moment, you are able to make informed decisions, live fully, and perform your best. If you perform tense, clenched, and push through everything with sheer muscular effort and will, you might get the job done, meet your deadline, or cross the finish line, but there is a better, and more effective way. Finding the ease.
3 Steps for Finding the Ease
Relax. I’m not talking about being lazy here, and relax like a wet noodle. That’s not very productive, but when you are able to find where you are holding tension, whether physical or mental, where you don’t need, simply drop it. More space will open up and you’ll be relaxed while you’re working.
Focus. Often when we are trying to balance our lives we get pulled in a bunch of directions and it’s hard to focus on one task through the finish. Trust me, I have personal experience on this one between running Strala, leading the yoga, practicing yoga, writing about yoga, and showing up to things I need to turn up for. Cultivating a focus, just like in meditation is a practice. When you notice your focus wandering, gently guide it back. When you notice your mind wandering, gently guide it back.
Enjoy. A universal ingredient for success is to do something you truly enjoy. If you are passionate about what you are doing, it will first off be fulfilling for you, would attract others toward your work more than if you were doing something for other reasons than simply because you are interested and love the work. This goes for your job, family, and athletic endeavors.
Enjoy the ride and the ride will be more enjoyable.
If you are so focused on the future, where are you right now?
A theme I’ve been into a lot lately when it comes to yoga (and everything else for that matter) is finding the ease in the effort. When you rest your attention on your breath, instead of your thinking, space opens up in the body and the mind calms.
There are a few ways to approach yoga (and everything else):
- "Run through brick walls." Pound everything, clench everything, and go-go-go until something happens. You might accomplish things this way, but the sense of satisfaction will probably be fleeting, and actually it’s not the most efficient way to accomplish anything.
- Find the ease. Finding the ease doesn’t mean being lazy; it means working efficiently, being aware of how you’re working, having patience, and deciding how you are going to be. When you can be easy in your body, easy in your mind, and have patience, you’ll be able to accomplish so much more than “running through brick walls,” or stuffing yourself into a yoga pose, because if there is one thing you’ll take away from yoga, it’s that it surely isn’t about the yoga poses.
Your breath is the only “pose” you’ll ever need and when you follow it you’ll be able to do any pose you wish, and you’ll realize that the poses don’t really matter. When you stop obsessing, it comes, and then it doesn’t matter.
Yoga is a fantastic system designed not to connect you to a bunch of external yoga poses, but rather to connect you back to you, where everything you’ll ever need is right there waiting. — Tara Stiles, Yoga & Wellness Expert