The practice of yoga brings an array of experiences and feelings. Many are pleasant, and some, well, not so pleasant. The not-so-pleasantness shows up as resistance—physical, mental, and emotional resistance. This is a natural part of the practice. The tendency is to pull back away from resistance, however.

If instead, we recognize the resistance at face value—simply resistance—and then find ease, somewhere, somehow, the experience will change. When resistance shows up during practice, finding ease can help you ride the wave without getting discouraged.

As an example, think about the last time you attempted a posture that was very difficult. In a difficult posture many muscles contract, the face contorts, and the breath becomes labored, or even ceases altogether. The mind becomes agitated, and emotions run high. Although it can be a challenge to do anything else at this time, the best thing to do is seek ease.

Physically, it will be helpful to find an area of the body to relax. It may be that the jaw and face are the most accessible areas to relax. This a great place to start. Mentally, you can most find ease by bringing your attention back to the breath. Inhale. Exhale. Emotionally, the same rule applies: find your breath. In this way, ease will make its way back into your experience, and the experience itself will change.

Finding ease on our mats is excellent practice for life off the mat where resistance comes in many forms. By finding ease on the mat, even in small ways, it becomes more natural to find ease off the mat. Perhaps during a difficult experience you may more easily find ease by coming to your breath, if even for a moment. This small gesture can have profound effects on your relationships, your reaction to events, and your sense of peace. By finding ease in even the small places—on or off the mat—resistance will melt away.