Only YOU can know
Only you can know if you are giving everything you have to your practice. No one else can tell you.
- Working hard enough means that you accessed enough willpower to do something you have not done before
- Working hard enough means you will certainly be uncomfortable
- Working hard enough means that you practice smart – So you can practice tomorrow
Doing something you have not done before could be: a new pose, a new transition, a different way of performing a pose, performing a difficult pose in a soft way, performing an easy pose in difficult way, more reps of a pose, longer holds, working on one pose for a long time (like an hour!)
When you are working hard enough in your practice, you are going to come up against the edge of your comfort zone at some point. At this point you will experience resistance; mental, emotional, and physical resistance. This is going to be uncomfortable and you will be the only one who will know for sure if you give in to the resistance or access the willpower to keep working.
When you are working hard enough in your practice, you are practicing smart. It is not smart to practice “until it hurts”, causes injury, or you just can’t walk the next day. You need to be able to recover if you are going to practice hard.
Putting the responsibility of deciding whether you are or are not working hard enough on someone else (even your loving teacher) is a choice that invites injury, unnecessary pain, complacency, delusion, false pride, and many other obstacles to making the gains you want and need in your practice.
What gets you there?
- Working for something greater than yourself
- The willingness to get comfortable with being uncomfortable
We are far more able (and likely) to work hard for something greater than ourself then we are to work hard for ourself. Working hard for ourself – our body, our mind, and our emotional well being – is great. When we only work hard for ourself, however, we eventually fall into a pattern of habit based on our comfort zone, or we become so self-centered that our egoic pride takes over. Complacency or injury tends to set in. The amount of willpower available on the path of Yoga is far greater than any one individual is born with or can cultivate on their own.
Being connected to a community is a key ingredient in working hard enough. We simply cannot do it alone. When we feel that we are part of something, a team, a group, a school, a community, we have access to far more energy of will and capability of follow through. Others literally bring out our best and inspire us to keep going when we might ordinarily stop.
When you treat your body as if it were a temple for a Divine guest, you will respect it and not break it down so far that you lose access to recovery. You will do what it takes to care for and encourage with love the body to push past limitations and truly work hard enough.
Most people stop what they are doing and start to get comfortable when they come up against their edge. When you decide that you want to make gains in your practice, you need to know that you are signing up for discomfort. When this is what you want, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is your best move.
By: Brent Kuecker – Yogi. Musician. Educator.