I know yoga is not supposed to be painful, but yesterday it was.
I went to a Yin yoga class, which is basically all about going into deep stretches and holding them for extended periods of time.
Stretching may sound easy to you. I am here to tell you it is not, especially not for this runner. My muscles are so tight that stretching is literally painful.
At one point during class, the teacher said, “Nothing that’s good is easy.”
Her comment stopped me in my tracks.
Nothing that’s good is easy?
I think that type of thinking falls under the “No pain, no gain” category. As in, if it doesn’t totally suck, it’s not going to benefit you. To take that argument to it’s logical conclusion, you have to suffer to be good.
Having been raised a Catholic, I’m very familiar with that train of thought. I just don’t buy it anymore. (And before anyone jumps all over me — I’m not insulting Catholics or Catholicism; I’m just saying I don’t buy into that particular piece of the ideology.)
Lots of good things are easy. For example, one of the hallmarks of a good relationship is that there’s a natural, easy connection. Sure, all relationships require some work, but a relationship that’s all hard work is not a good relationship, nor is it enjoyable for anyone.
Nothing is easier for me than sitting around with my kids, laughing and talking and eating over dinner each night. And nothing is better in life. So yeah, good things can be easy.
When I see my close friends, the best part about it is that it’s easy. We don’t have to work at it. We can relax and enjoy the goodness that comes from the close connections we’ve built over time.
Cheryl Richardson says, “If something feels good, do it. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.” I think she and I are saying the same thing. You don’t have to work hard and suffer and be miserable.
One of my first jobs was at a large advertising agency, the type where you were expected to work from 9 in the morning till 9 or 10 most nights, for a salary that was barely above minimum wage.
I honestly thought paying my dues there was what I had to do. I thought I had to suffer through that awful experience in order to be successful. It was hard, it was miserable, and the toxicity of that environment negatively impacted every part of my life, including my physical health.
One day, I realized that that story I had told myself, that this was my job and I was stuck there, was not true. I quit my job and I’ve been involved solely in entrepreneurial ventures – where I have freedom and fun and ease — ever since then.
Work, exercise, love, nearly anything can be fun and easy, if you can accept the concept that it’s allowed to be. It doesn’t have to be a grind.
Let’s drop the story that life has to be hard, or that good things can only come with hard work. Some good things do come with hard work, but many good things come with ease and grace. I’m sticking with those things.