Flowing Between Ease and Effort

Oct 16, 2019

Our society is big on being productive … going the extra mile … giving 110% effort … doing more than what’s “expected” whether that’s at work, in a team sport, getting good grades, or simply being in a relationship with another person. I don’t know about you, but just reading that makes me feel less than and tired.

When teaching Qigong and T’ai Chi, I notice beginners find it challenging to only give 70% of their effort. I let them know that if we can begin to give these postures and transitions 70% then maybe, just maybe it would bleed into our every day life? AND, how would that feel? I love hearing the AWEs and seeing smiles as the students reply. Where else can you go and the teacher is telling you less is more… nothing grandiose, simplify, soften and listen within.

Giving 70% and leaving the rest for ease is HUGE. It doesn’t mean you are doing less than those who go all out, instead ease clarifies within you inspired action. When building ease into our lives it allows our effort to be more focused, clear and smooth… like a T’ai Chi transition.

Think about it, how valuable are you when you are burning the candlestick at both ends? Not sleeping the proper amount, not eating live foods, not being present when you are with others because you are always thinking how you can do more and be more. How’s that working out for you? Or, better yet, how long do you think you can sustain it before your physical body shuts down?

With ease comes clarity and concise effort.

After my C-Adventure, I have really embraced simple self-care, and I feel healthier than I have in a long time. Self-care can mean different things to me on any given day. Below is a partial list of things I love, in no particular order:

  • Sitting 15-20 minutes on my cushion
  • A long-hot bath and maybe with a glass of wine
  • Writing in my journal
  • Going to yoga and focusing only on me, my body and my breath, nothing else
  • Cooking a nutritious meal and having leftovers—or the flip side—some Astro Burger fries with fry sauce
  • Connecting with nature outside—even if it’s simply walking around my neighborhood
  • Having a REAL conversation with a friend, laughing, sharing, and yes at times shedding tears (which is so cleansing)
  • Attending a movie by myself or staying home and reading a book (not online) with a nice cup of tea
  • Giving complements to strangers, especially when I am at the Huntsman Cancer Institute
  • Spending time listening to my daughter and learning about her teenage life
  • Massages, oh yes, more please
  • Dancing around the house with music blasting
  • An afternoon nap
  • Last but not least, Qigong and T’ai Chi are two modalities that I teach, practice and live. No, I’m not a master, I am a life-long practitioner and student.

In T’ai Chi our transitions from one posture to the next are as important as the posture themselves. Again, please know that ease is as important as effort. Creating ease in life, gives more clarity to our efforts. Doing less, and achieving more…flowing between ease and effort.


photo: I was looking down at the ground at Capitol Reef.


  1. Dear Sifu Toni. I think your advise is spot on. Love it.
    Tai Chi does not and should not be another pressure in life to master and perfect. Relax, enjoy and one bite at a time.

    Sifu G.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Sifu G, means a lot and I may have to quote you… :~]


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