It’s a word, a feeling, an intention, that I keep coming back to.
Ease means simplicity and flow. It means not pushing, and instead allowing things to unfold on their own.
It means letting go of the need to control everything. Letting go of trying to fit everything neatly into a labeled boxed.
It means being less driven by the outcome. It means being aware of how things feel, in each moment.
It means not planning my day, my week or my year out, minute by minute. It means surrendering and being open to the possibilities. It means being present.
In yoga we are told to let our breath guide us. We are told to go as far as we can in a posture. That doesn’t mean pushing further than what our body can do or trying to achieve the full version of the asana. As soon as our breathing becomes shallow and uneven (or we stop breathing all together) we have lost our sense of ease. We might be making shapes but we are no longer practicing yoga.
Asana can be translated as ‘comfortable seat’. You cannot have comfort without ease. In yoga a sense of ease comes with our breath and, depending on which style you practice, in our stillness.
How do I practice ease outside of the yoga room? How does ease show up in my life?
There are two main areas of my life that I try and bring a sense of ease to.
How I eat and how I move my body.
So many women, myself included, struggle their way through meals, each and every day. For years I was never happy with what I ate. Certain foods would make me feel so guilty. Eating lacked enjoyment. Food equaled calories that needed to be burned. Eating wasn’t about nourishing my body or even enjoying the taste of what I was eating. It was hard.
But now, I eat mindfully and intuitively.
For me, eating mindfully means eating with ease. Foods are no longer good or bad. I don’t beat myself up about something that I ate, or something that I didn’t eat. I no longer plan out everything that I will eat for the day and count how many calories every little mouthful has.
I don’t restrict myself or label the way I eat.
I just eat what my body wants and needs in that moment.
When it comes to moving my body, for a long time I found enjoyment and freedom through dance. But towards my late teens and early twenties that changed. The need to move my body became directly connected to whatever I had eaten that day. How many hours did I need to spend hours exercising to burn off my lunch?
I used to spend hours at the gym, pounding the treadmill even though it bored me to tears. I would look at the class schedule at the gym and pick the classes that were high intensity and would burn lots of calories. If something promised flat abs, I would be there.
But thankfully, this to has changed.
I now exercise with ease. This means not worrying about burning calories, trying to lose weight or fit into a certain size. I move my body so that it feels good.
Some days this means a yoga class. Other times, a walk down to the beach. I also rest when my body needs it.
I no longer push myself to a point of exhaustion. I also am no longer bored while I’m exercising, or constantly checking the clock to find out when it will end.
And trust me, this feels so good.
For me, to live with ease means to live from a place of love. I show my body love and respect, and this in turn shows up in how I feel, and in my life.
Do you try and live from a place of ease, or do you have a different feeling or intention that inspires the way you live?
Image by Jake Givens