Sthira Sukham Asanam - Yoga Sutras instruct us that in Asana (Yoga postures) we should strive for a sense of steadiness and ease.  It is refreshing to consider that one can derive great benefit from physical activity that does not necessarily make one sweat buckets or strain muscles until they hurt the next day.  

If in our postures, no matter now difficult, we are still able to experience a sense of alertness, steady attention, as well as ease in the body, expending minimum energy (even if the minimum energy needed is quite a bit) - then we have an opportunity to observe ourselves in the process, gaining insight and humbling the Ego.

Next time you attend a Yoga class or roll your mat out at home, do so with the attitude of creating steadiness and ease in your poses.  Stop taking the pose deeper if it creates a sense of unease, interrupts the smoothness of breath, or creates agitation in the mind.  Instead, work to arrange your body in such a way that allows you to conserve energy, expending only as much as is necessary.  Make small inner adjustments to shift the weight into the bones, to engage deeper muscles, and avoid tension where it is not necessary.  Redirecting energy to the mind instead, one can have a deeper appreciation for the experience.

For example, we often tense up our shoulders when we are doing something challenging.  Take your practice to a whole new level by learning to relax the throat and facial muscles even if the pose you are doing takes all of your capacity.   You will enjoy a new upsurge of energy and more endurance as it is freed up. At the same time, you will be able to enjoy working hard.

One helpful skill is learning about neutral pelvis and its application in Asana.  With neutral pelvis you can engage full diaphragmatic breath (watch my video below), which creates a sense of mental relaxation, and in turn, allows to relax all those things that tense up due to poor habits.  It is from that sense of neutrality that equanimity is born, a certain detachment from the outcome - vairagyam, which is an important part of Yogic journey.

The attitude of certain restraint is also applicable to  many situations off the mat in our daily lives, where we are often overextending ourselves, depleting our energy on things that are not worth it.  You may realize that by streamlining your effort you are able to achieve more by way of deeper experience, appreciation and quality of produced work.