Effort & Ease

I started learning how to play guitar a little over a year ago. Guitar is hard! I had no idea! When I first learn a new chord, the intensity with which I try to bend my fingers in the right positions in incredible. My entire body focuses on making my fingers move correctly. I crease my forehead, tense my neck muscles, and stop breathing. On more than one occasion, I have told my husband that I am NEVER going to learn this chord. 

Then...it always happens when I am just fooling around...not really trying...I will sit down and randomly strum the guitar while thinking about something else. And boom! I know the chord. It is so easy! Why was I struggling with it so much???

Has this ever happened to you? You work SO HARD on trying to figure out a problem or to learn a new skill and there is absolutely no progress. Then, when you stop trying and least expect it, the solution or the skill appears out of thin air.

Yes, my friend, this is because of effort and ease. The effort is when you are trying so very hard. Ease happens when you sit on the couch and do absolutely nothing. It is the balance between the two where the magic happens. 

We see this on our mats in yoga class. When in a pose, such as Warrior I, we have to find both effort and ease. The effort is in the leg muscles, the core, and the arms. There should also be ease, however. The ease is in the shoulders, the lips, the forehead, the muscles around the eyes. When first starting out, our instinct is to tense every single muscle in every single pose. This is when yoga feels impossible. It is only when we start to relax, or find our ease, that the subtleties emerge. 

As on our mat, so too in our lives. Where is the effort? Where is the ease? We need both. Finding this takes awareness and practice. 

Come to yoga. Let's practice. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go figure out the F chord. (I'm never going to learn this chord!)

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