Go easy on yourself. It might be the best way to run faster, find more power on the bike, climb effortlessly, and pull off unimaginable feats of strength and endurance. It might be the best way for you to do everything there is.
This doesn't mean go lazy, go floppy, or don't go at all. It means go! Go without the idea that hard things can only achieved by force and struggle. Drop that idea off at corner! Go with the idea that you have a choice in how you accomplish everything you accomplish. You can work to gain things in your life by force. You can also work to gain things in your life by ease. Chances are, you're going to like ease better. With ease, chances are you're going to like you better.
How!? Avoid smashing headlong against problems and challenges in your life. When you smash against things, things break. You might knock down a few walls this way, but you'll knock yourself down, too. Get comfortable all around challenges. Get comfortable all around you.
Here are four simple steps to bring this into your training, for anything you want to achieve:
If you're going to use your body effectively, you need to feel your body. When you're stressing and straining, the only thing you can feel is tense. From relaxed, you can feel everything your body is telling you. You can make friends with you. From here, you can start working with your body, rather than against it.
Give yourself time for this. What you feel is not irrelevant. It's not something to push past. This is an entirely new way of training. It's based on dropping a fundamental belief that the world is tough, and the only way to get anything real done by pushing and forcing. Trade that assumption in for a better one. Assume that what you have is enough, and if you learn about you, you can achieve through peace far more than what is gained in war.
If you feel something tense in your body, let it relax. If you feel something disconnected in your body, connect it. If you can't move a part of your body very easily, take an interest than part, and see what you can do to help make it part of the team. When parts of your body are tense, straining, disconnected, or not happy to move, you're working against yourself. When every part of your body moves in a harmonious concert with every other part, you are — by your nature and the fact that you are here — an incredibly high-performance machine.
This way of being doesn't happen overnight. It's part physical training, and part reorienting your psychology around a powerful belief that you can achieve very great things without suffering. So it might take some time, some practice. But you will notice right away when it kicks in during a run, a long uphill on bike, or scaling whatever mountainous challenge you happen to be up against.
When you know your way around you, you're going to knock your own socks off. You're going to have loads of fun seeing things that are supposed to be "hard" just happen for you. No force, no struggle, just doing it. Just doing you.
Try applying this to your yoga. Try applying it to your runs and races, your cycling, rowing, and climbing. See what happens, and let me know how it goes.
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