Things to Keep in Mind when Starting Yoga or Counseling (Part 2 of 3)

Adding on to the concepts of Commitment and Self-Study...

Balance of Effort and Ease

One of the few yoga sutras about asana (physical poses or postures) highlights that asana is about being steady and comfortable, possessing both effort and ease. Holding both of these ideas can be such a helpful guide during yoga or therapy. If we do nothing more than support ourselves and stay in an area of comfort, we may miss the opportunity to grow. On the other hand, I have also seen what can happen when clients expend too much effort. This can result in their experiencing more negative and critical cycles, exposing themselves to injury, or becoming overwhelmed and feeling a sense of failure.

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When we make space for ourselves and give attention to our needs with self-study, we have some parameters within which to work with both effort and ease. These frameworks keep us from going to extremes and result in balanced strengthening during our process. A teacher or counselor will also pay attention to these opposing ideas and will work to create support and resilience while pushing the edges of challenge.

Noticing Is More Than Just Thinking

When asked about their reactions to a situation, it is natural for many people to start with their thoughts. Many of us feel as if our minds are always “on,” and our culture tends to value thinking over feelings or sensations. To create more understanding about our motivations and behaviors, we can tap into awareness of our emotions, sensations, or behaviors as well as our thoughts. Tuning in to labored sensations of breath or a fluttering in our feet when talking about an anxious experience leads to deeper learning about, and connection to, our entire systems. Although thoughts are valuable, we can miss out on more learning and integration when we neglect other ways of noticing and experiencing.