How To Get Comfortable Doing Less

In our culture, we strive in all areas of life - work, kids, fitness, nutrition, etc., but we're not so good at resting. In fact, we often feel guilty when we do take time to rest.

In last week’s newsletter I talked about Sthira sukham āsanam, which means “The āsana (yoga posture) should be simultaneously strong/alert and relaxed.” So today, I’d like to show you 3 ways to weave more sukham into your āsana practice. 

Take breaks during class
In yoga class, the element of “peer pressure” can definitely exist. Everyone around you is working hard and following the teacher’s guidance. They might even be sweating and breathing hard. When you find yourself getting out of breath or a little tired, challenge yourself to beat the peer pressure and take a break.

You can stand in a relaxed posture, take a drink of water, or maybe hang out for a few breaths in pose that feels comfortable to you, like a forward fold, child’s pose, or even śavasāna. Rest a minute or more, then rejoin the teacher’s instruction.

Slow your pace
If the pace of class feels a little too fast for you, or if you’re struggling to keep up, go slower. Spend more breaths in one posture, skip the next posture, and rejoin the class on the following posture.

If you’re in a Flow class, pick a sequence and spend two breaths in each posture rather than one. You can do fewer repetitions or just skip the following sequence so you can rejoin the teacher’s instruction.

Try a different class
We’re so accustomed to working hard that it can seem very mentally challenging to slow down. We might even be so used to the rush of adrenaline that we have no interest in slowing down.

Once a week, try a different class. If you’re used to Core Power, try Vinyasa Flow. If you usually practice Vinyasa Flow or Hatha II, try Hatha I. If you usually practice Hatha I, try Gentle. Shake things up a bit to find a new challenge - learning how to slow down and rest.

Chronic stress is extremely common in our society, so it’s actually very healthy to practice doing less so we can learn how to be comfortable in a state of ease and relaxation. In fact, this is something I have been working on since I returned from India a few weeks ago. One day I’ll write more about it, but for now let me just say that the benefits have been pretty mind-blowing.

If boosting your sukham sounds like an interesting (or maybe even needed) challenge for you, I encourage you to join us for the upcoming 40 Day Challenge. You can practice finding your ease for 40 consecutive days and maybe even make it a new habit!

 And if you have any questions about how to integrate more sukham into your life or your practice, I’m always just an email away.

All my best,