Photo by Monica Felix @

Don’t go for broke in the first ten seconds of the posture

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

Emerson famously said that nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.

However, we have to be careful not to become a victim of our own elation. Because everybody wants to come out of the gate with guns blazing. And the easiest thing to do is to enthusiastically plunge into a new project, only to realize that our ambition and intensity and ability aren’t sustainable over the long haul.

My instructor tells new students:

Don’t go for broke in the first ten seconds of the posture. You will literally burn out. One minute is longer than you think.

That’s the smart approach for executing almost anything. Relaxing into it. Pacing ourselves. Keeping our breathing consistent. And trusting the process to treat us well.

Without that mentality, we make ourselves vulnerable to exhaustion, frustration, even injury. Especially if we’re not honest with ourselves.

There’s a time and place to get carried away by our own enthusiasm. We should always reserve that right.

But life is a long arc game. And if we’re haphazard with our energy in the beginning, our aspirations will soon outpace our abilities.

How effective can you be in inspiring others if you’re lying on your back in your hospital bed with a stress related illness?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.