Trying Too Hard

Trying too hard.

It’s a phrase that indicates the desired result cannot be achieved due to too much effort, usually caused by an over-zealous mind.

This common phrase demonstrates that some goals require finesse, as opposed to brute force, and can be used to refer to either physical, or intellectual goals.

Many traditional yoga postures – the balancing postures, especially, require this type of finesse, and are usually achieved through a relaxed focus along with the physical action. If you have a tendency to “try too hard” in your yoga class, then practicing balancing postures will encourage your mind to transition away from its overly-eager state.

In aerial yoga classes, the hammock can be used as an extra tool to help train eager minds to relax a bit. By allowing the body to physically relax into a yoga position supported by the hammock, once the body fully settles into the shape, one can practice re-engaging the muscles with the appropriate amount of effort, simultaneously training the mind not to over-strive. Because the body has already “arrived” in the position, if you notice re-engagement of the muscles either makes your mind too active, or pulls your body out of the position, it’s easy to return to relaxation instantly, without losing the position.

When we cocoon inside the hammock, we can develop this type of “mental step back” even better. Completely covered by the hammock fabric, our senses are partially blocked from our surroundings, which makes it easier to withdraw into our inner world, better focus on our breath, self-reflect, and loosen any tendencies to over-exert both physically and mentally.

Of course, when it comes to physical fitness, complete relaxation doesn’t help us develop strength, flexibility, or coordination, all of which are desirable traits we need to achieve our yoga postures. In order to advance our physical aptitude, we do need to continually challenge ourselves. No pain, no gain, and meet your edge, are the types of cues we most often hear from fitness trainers and yoga instructors.

Luckily, the hammock is a versatile tool, which can also be used for resistance training, in order to intensify strength exercises, and stretches. And, knowledgeable aerial yoga instructors will expertly balance a mix of resistance training with relaxing hammock-supported postures, so that the needs of the body and the mind can both be addressed.

Uniting physical efforts of the body with a relaxed focus gets us one step closer to the ultimate goal of a yoga practice – union of body, mind, and spirit. Uniting body, mind and spirit, otherwise known as self-realization takes many years of practice and determination to achieve success. It is necessary to try hard to get there. I just recommend don’t try too hard.

One Response

  1. Hi, Michelle. That was great information. Trying to combine everything together is challenging. As an Unnata Aerial instructor, I still have much to learn. I like the part about expertly balancing a mix of resistance training with relaxing hammock-supported postures to meet both needs of body and mind. Thanks for sharing.

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