In Chapter 2, verse 47 of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it’s written: prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam, or “the means of perfecting the posture is that of relaxing or loosening of effort, and allowing attention to merge with endlessness, or the infinite.” In yoga, the concept of finding the balance between effort and surrender permeates through all elements of the practice. On the one hand, we need to release effort to merge with the infinite and attain perfection, however, we need a tremendous amount of effort before we can get to the point where we release that effort.

In this video, Paramaguru Sharath Jois, alongside Sonima’s founder Sonia Jones, discusses how the paradox of effort is central to being a yogi. “Always you have to put effort,” says Sharath, “But once you become comfortable, there is no effort.” In this sense, effort contains infinite stepping stones; as we ascend, we constantly teeter between staying still and moving forward, and in both instances the self contains both types of movement. For Sharath Jois, effort is highly personal; “the real yogi never shows [the world] anything—he does it [practice] for his own purification.”

Related: Why Practice Yoga?

Don’t miss your chance to attend class with Ashtanga yoga master Sharath Jois when he visits the U.S. in May 2017! Learn more here.