#68: How to Make Transitions Effortless, Part 1

Feb 23, 2023 | Podcast

Transitions are one of the toughest things both in life and on the yoga mat, but not necessarily for the reasons you might think.

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In Episode #63 , I talked about how sometimes transitions just stink. …they don’t have to. It is possible to make them seem effortless…depending of course, on what the transition is.

Transitions can bring up a lot of anxiety un-ease for people. Depending on what the transition is, it can have a whole host of other emotions associated with it…for one, all transitions mean you’re letting go of one way of doing things and taking on a new way.


I recently learned that it’s not so much the fear associated with the transition as much as it is the grief of letting go of the old.

  • People don’t resist change, they resist loss. It’s the grief of not having something they once had or the thought of not having it that impacts them more than the change itself. So being able to adapt after transitions in terms of the loss you have experienced or will experience is what makes transitions tricky. Some may call this adaptability resilience.
  • When I think of this in my season of life right now with a 3 year old: It could be the smallest loss, like moving from being in the comfort of your own home, to leaving the house for something new…it’s not the something new that’s challenging, it’s that I’m asking her to let go of something that she’s comfortable with to do something else.  Or even transitions out of the comfort of jammies into regular clothes for the day.

My acquaintance, Katie Rossler (interviewed in episode 36) and who has a book on grief says that “grief is us growing into our greater self by letting go of the past, letting go of the things that are no longer here.” And that’s exactly what a transition is, no matter how big or small. It’s letting go of one way of doing things and inviting a new way.


But you can begin to train yourself, just like with any habit, to make transitions a bit more effortless.

Think of a transition you’ve gone through in your life or even something you’ve learned in the past or you’re learning right now. Avoid bringing your mind to a 1-time transition (like retirement or menopause) and instead think of a transition that you have gone through numerous times or could potentially go through more than once…

Remember how you felt at the very beginning, when you first set out to do something differently. Notice the feelings or emotions that you had or that might even come up now as you are recalling the time in your life.

Then remember how it felt shortly after you began the transition. How did you feel?

You might have felt uncomfortable, clunky, if you were learning something new, maybe, even like you were never going to pick it up.


You likely at some point had the thought that you just wanted to hurry up and know all you needed to know, or that you could just be good enough at the skill to remember how to do it (I get this a lot when I’m teaching someone their own yoga sequence), or even good enough to be able to begin refining it. Or that you just wanted to hurry up and be done with the transition–ready to be done with it even before you started or had been in it a minute.


Now consider the part of the transition in which it started to become a bit easier–that place where you realized you’d done this before and could make it through it…maybe even refining the way you do it.

You begin to develop a system so it becomes easier and maybe even more efficient if it’s a transition you do over and over, like getting out the door in the morning, or taking that route to a new workplace or gym–you start to look for the way with the least amount of stop signs, etc., or moving, or that physical skill you are learning begins to just click.


Remember the progression of the steps it took you to move through the transition–there may be some key milestones or points that really stand out to you.

Now bring to mind the version of you after you made that transition (no matter how many times you made it). See yourself on the other side of the transition—What are you now able to do? How does being on the other side of the transition change who you are? Were you successful if you were learning something or did you release the notion of you learning that new skill or growing in that way at this time in your life? What can or can’t you do? What did you learn about yourself in the process?


Some of the transitions we go through daily, you don’t need to give that much thought to, in part because they are things you do every day and have become effortless. And on the other hand, maybe it’s some of those transitions that DO need those questions asked because perhaps the transitions are so effortless, that complacency sets in and you’re not actually achieving the outcome you want.


So there’s this fine balance between something becoming effortless when intention is still attached to it , and effortless when complacency sets in–and that’s part of what makes up your “edge” in any given thing, but more on that in another episode.

Next week I’ll share 3 key things that need to be included for effortless transitions.


Intention-setting Worksheet – It’s time to set intentions with the new moon and get back on track if you’ve fallen off over winter!

#36: Cultivating Healthy Communication in Relationships with Katie Rossler

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