If you think the path to least resistance is the way – THINK AGAIN!

mk_treesHere’s why the path of least resistance doesn’t work…

So last weekend was my first weekend of yoga teacher training at Yogaworks with Joan Hyman.

It’s been really cool to step inside the world of yoga and see it from the other side. I’m starting to see my life and my body in such a different way.

It’s funny how truths are truths, in life and in the body.

This past weekend we learned a lot about anatomy and the body. I was introduced to a concept called “The Law of Compensation” – which Seane Corn defines as “bending where you are soft, not where you are hard.”

The idea in yoga is that you want to counteract the Law of Compensation.

Without awareness, the body will take the path of least resistance to become flexible. If we are not SUPER careful, this means that our bodies will bend in ways that will actually hurt us, because most bodies are so stiff that the way they naturally bend puts the skeleton out of alignment.

So yoga, in many ways, is about activating resistance in your body, to counteract The Law of Compensation, which is what creates the stretch and space in the body.

Basically, left to its own devices – your body will hurt itself if it’s not given direction on how to counteract its tendency to take the easy path. In fact, if you DON’T do this, you WILL hurt yourself and create pain.

When I heard this I was kind of blown away because you can extrapolate this concept into life. I’m not saying that you have to do the hardest thing to be successful, but I am saying that success requires facing a MASSIVE amount of resistance in life.

If we take the path of least resistance, which I’ve heard in spiritual circles as the proper path, we aren’t really building our spiritual or emotional muscles. No one I know who is successful in the outer world or the inner world got there with total ease.

The myth of life needing to be filled with total ease keeps a lot of us stuck.

Here’s the deal. Life is hard. Problems are real.

But, as in yoga, with enough effort, awareness and proper alignment, we can begin to stretch and create a new body or life.

The key is to bring the awareness to create the energy in your body or life to be able to counteract The Law of Compensation, so that are bodies and our lives are in alignment.

A simple way to think of it is this: human beings tend to be lazy. We don’t want to do hard work. But, if we are to transform, hard work is a must.

But, you wouldn’t go into a yoga class with someone who doesn’t know about yoga. If you’re like me, you’d want to find the BEST yoga teacher and learn from them. Because they can see where you can improve. Perhaps not even in significant ways, but in tiny ways – which can make all the difference.

The same is true in life. We want to find people who are the BEST at what they do and then learn from them, because they can see where we need to make a small change that will result in significant benefit.

So, are you taking the path of least resistance in your life? How can you activate more energy, find people who know how to get to where you want to go and start creating a new life through hard work and applied effort with awareness?

Let me know!

As always, the action happens in the comments below. Leave a comment and join the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it’s a GREAT place to get support!




Mastin Kipp is the founder and CEO of The Daily Love. Follow him on Twitter here.

Take what resonates with you in this blog and leave the rest.

  • gretchen

    Love your article today… you will make an amazing yoga teacher! I am constantly amazed at the connections between body & mind that are illuminated through yoga practice. In such *simple* lessons! xo

  • Aurora

    I always thought the path of least resistances meant all of those things you mention about showing up and working hard BUT doing so by going with the flow, following one’s bliss, letting the Universe have your back instead of pushing hard against that powerful flow. It didnt occur to me that the path of least resistance meant laziness or sitting around doing nothing so I’m grateful to see that it could be interpreted that way. I believe there is a difference between pushing the river, so to speak and allowing the Universe to deliver. I think the path of least resistance leads to action that is Inspired and doesn’t feel like work.

    • Kman

      I really like following the path of least resistance but those things will not show up in your life – yoga, hobbies, without happiness and I feel you can not force happiness – force yoga, force hobbies etc. Happiness is not a choice. You have to be happy with your environment and get your situation on track before you become happy. Then extra activities and hobbies become fun and not forced; path of least resistance. Its hard forcing running( I use to do it), yoga, basketball and not truly being happy when you are doing it. It is all fake happiness. I am in disagreement with this article. The past surely has an effect on our present. Especially if we still have people from our past that live with us and influence us and even are controlling to the point where we are still children to them. Society is great at keeping us controlled in more aspects than one. Whether it is your mother and father, a doctor, a court situations. There are so many battles we are all fighting. The path of least resistance is the best way to find true happiness and remember who you are, your purpose and how to be happy again. Fighting for what you stand for. Aurora pretty much summed up how I felt. I hope I am not putting words in your mouth.

  • TdlLover

    a little resistance shouldn’t make you give up..but push harder. thanks for the reminder! And for a great inspirational article. 🙂

  • Osage Dior

    Hard work! It brings you success no matter where you are…

  • Courtney

    This really spoke to me this morning. I just had an argument with my boyfriend my traditional “path of least resistance” is to just break up with someone. I seriously contemplated it last night just because it got a little hard. Thanks for this word today, its pushing me to re-evaluate my thoughts and actions.

  • Lesley

    I think sometimes…no, often the path of least resistance means NOT avoiding those who you think may not be able to teach you when, in fact, everyone is here to teach you. I do think I see where you were going with this, but to me there are too many dichotomies in that kind of example. If you want to do the hard work, I think the call is to say “what can I learn from this?” not only “what can I learn from this expert or ‘best’ situation?”

  • I love the story through which you delivered this message. This is my favorite of yours since following you! Thank you for sharing love…love and light to you!

  • I will say, “Hell NO!” to that question. And, because I am taking a path of heavy resistance, I know I am on the right path. Why? Because I took the easier path for a long time, and my life was NOT working. I was in a constant state of anxiety (asking a therapist for meds at one point, and being told, “No.”) IT ISN’T ENOUGH TO WANT CHANGE; WE NEED TO BE CHANGE. I have changed A LOT. And I needed to. Because I have changed my ways so much, many family members became VERY uncomfortable and created TIDAL WAVES of resistance (My father has even disowned me). Who could blame them? I had been a people pleaser, and had no idea what Loving Myself really meant; allowing them to have control over my emotions (and sometimes my life). I take FULL responsibility. They have not liked me listening to my mentor (Cinnamon Lofton) and told me that what I was doing…was “NOT COMMON or NORMAL.” Amen to that, I say. YES, I am ABSOLUTELY doing the UNCOMMON and LESS TRAVELED way. I am here on earth to not teach what has already been said in books. I am here on earth to SHOW (through my example and journey) that we can align ourselves with our soul 100%. NOT 99%. We CAN choose ENLIGHTENMENT in EVERY moment. WE ARE THAT POWERFUL. And, slowly….surely…bit by bit…the PROOF is being SHOWN to all who are around me. Especially, because the changes in our son’s behavior is undeniable. I was told to medicate him at 4-years-old to control his RAGES. I know the “Common” thing is to do so. But I knew something that most people are forgetting….”THE LIGHT OF LOVE IS ALWAYS STRONGER THAN THE DARKNESS OF FEAR.”
    The Daily Commenter,

    • Once again, love your work Kathleen xx

    • guest

      That’s not the easy path, hate to break it to you. The easy path is when you flow fluidly towards your own development. Resistance is being faced with anxiety, depression, inner conflict of any kind or even material resistances. This is coming from a sociopath with homicidal tendencies, according to my medical record, so seriously, don’t discard it. I have not been medicated for 16 years now and have only relied on myself and the One who guides me. I haven’t had any urges, very little resistance and have been filled with a calm so relaxing that when adversity does poke its head out I just pat it and send it on its way. I will admit even the best advice is still an opinion, but we are all alike just being human. Probably wasting my breath but whatever. We are only responsible for ourselves.

      • Kathleen Chelquist

        Of course you aren’t wasting your breath, and I completely agree with you that we are “only responsible for ourselves.” To clear up what I was saying, I will give you just one example. I was diagnosed with cancer for the 4th time, and the common thing to do would be to create FEAR. THe path in my life has had some HEAVY challenges; and I have chosen to choose Love, regardless. My heart did not beat any faster, this last Friday, when I had my eye checked. I was in complete surrender. I DID NOT resist the cancer. It became my friend. What I meant was that others are resisting my path in saying, “YES” to what ever is in my life, whether it be a beautiful sunrise or cancer. To trust that EVERYTHING is HERE for my growth- not against. TO NOT BE A VICTIM, but a THRIVER. I hope this clears it up. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I am very grateful. With all my heart, Kahtleen PS congrats for no meds! That is HUGE!!!

  • Amy Zoe

    Work does not have to be “hard” to have impact. As the Toaist concept of wu wei would suggest, success can be the result of consistent, effortless action.

    • Angela

      Yea, work smarter not harder.

  • Victoria Melchor

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, there is a very fine balance between flowing with life like water and taking the shape of the container we are in.. but sometimes it is also important to remember that water has great powers beyond flowing. In this life, it’s all about balance.

  • dap

    life/problems are neutral…
    they become hard/difficult depending on the meaning you give them..
    it is w/in your power to decide….

  • Rania

    This is so freaking true! I have taken your advice Mastin and decided to take my dreams and goals to another level by signing up for B SCHOOL and wow I can see why it is a game changer – cos it literally changes your game of thinking and you can well imagine how much resistance this is conjuring up for me. I have been making all sorts of crazy excuses as to why I can’t keep up. The truth is its just the resistance that I find difficult to navigate. My solution half way through the course is just do what I am instructed and go back as often as needed to review at my own pace. And even though I feel like I am not getting what I need to get or moving at the pace I need to move – I award myself for pushing through. Have to set yourself up with small attainable victories when you are facing grave resistance cos its not easy to feel like such a loser all the time!

  • Arynetta

    Maston this is a great post. For years I wobbled between action and results, then feeling like it should be easy and backing off, to no results and rising depression, to starting all over. I tried the easy path for years thinking with positive thoughts it should all work out. That led me to an empty energy and bank account following the wrong mentors for all the seeming right reasons. It is about over coming the resistance, learning to bend into it and find the ways that your body, mind, spirit uses it to grow. And what a feelling when you break through to the next level. when you rest after beautiful effort resulting in growth, change and creation. Of course, there is the time to rest and reflect… But life has seasons and rest, reflect and harvest is only ONE of them. God bless you for your service. Love&Light

  • Mish

    Hey Mastin!
    Can I ask you a question? (I will anyway ;-)) or the other TDLovers. How does this apply to relationships? When do you know if “hard work” means “not working”? I feel like I’m in a hard work relationship. Its not always rosy and I like your thought about the myth that life should be total ease. I feel that way about relationships. The greatest growth I have had in relationships is from my confront. Where I’ve been angry and resentful and I’ve had to drop it to create love. But where do you draw the line? I know its really a tricky question (well for me anyway) you not knowing the dynamics of my relationship … but I trust that I’ll receive exactly what I need from you or the TDL community 🙂 Thanks for reading x

    • Hi Mish, Thanks for putting your question out here! What I’ve thought about and experienced within relationships is that no matter what, you need to create space to listen to your own inner wisdom, and examine why you are feeling resistance. Is it because you’re hiding your own truth? Or is it because you are in a period of growth, and shedding your past illusions? Lovers are our greatest teachers and our most revealing mirrors; it’s
      through these intricate relationships that we gain greater insight into
      ourselves. Try approaching the situation with the understanding that you created it to gain insight into you, and it will allow you to take ownership for your life and your path.

  • Ashlee

    Hi Mastin,

    I agree 200% with what you are saying. Like many others leaving their comments, I have been down the path of resistance with results that just are not true to who I really am. Now I am taking a more challenging path of working through the resistance, to grow, nurture and conquer! It is hard, but I love it and I have never felt so alive.

    Thank you for you love and kindness

  • Love your passion and committment, Mastin, but personally I completely disagree with this article x

  • Janelle

    I liked your post, yet don’t feel that your understanding of least resistance fit mine. I have not thought of the path of least resistance as being lazy and not doing anything. On the contrary! We tend to want to resist what makes us uncomfortable, yet the path of least resistance for me is to acknowledge that which I want to resist and work through it. Most times it is hard work because I am used to doing things the hard way. I don’t think that I have to go up stream to reflect improvement and growth. If you are rowing through life, you will build muscle. I just decide to flow with my path. For me, when I am in a place of least resistance, I am creating an authentic life for myself. I no longer fight to be someone I am not. I don’t fight against my body when it is sick or needs healing and rest. I trust myself instead of what others think of me and what I should do with my life. I don’t resist my creativity or intelligence. I flow with my authenticity. Because of this I am aware at all times of who i am and what feels good and what doesn’t. I no longer focus on that fact that I have that problem in my life. Life is full of growing pains. I acknowledge what I am going through, become solution oriented and work through the pain and discomfort.

  • Gopi

    Thank you for sharing your thougts with us, thank you I read this blog. Cause of this, I see a new aspect of my bonding of yoga & spiritual development…I hurt my back with practicing yoga very excited but not aware enough… that pain caused displeasure… with me as a yogi… now there are new thougts… I forgot self-love, I forgot awareness… in my yogapractice as in my life… I worked too hard – in yoga against my body, may be in life against my soul…. I’ve get to get the balance between “hard work”, “self-love” & “let it flow” with awareness. Thanks for reminding or putting it in words wich touched my heart… trough the body to my soul and the other way around. To face my fears, stop challenging and reading words like yours give me the power and the belief that I’m not alone and on a good way… thank you <3

  • The Guinea and The Guide

    The key is to determine the difference between stretching and straining. If we’re not aligned with ourselves and our truth the sensation can present itself as similar but will yield completely different results. Ultimately the only way we can determine the difference is to know our truth. When our actions are aligned with our truth and vision and are based on love and faith, we stretch. When are actions are aligned with our vision and goals but are based on fear (not succeeding, failing) we can strain ourselves.

  • Patty

    I have been on this path for a long time now. Too long. I am really seeing things in my life as they are. I am doing the hard work now, for I am starting to see the light and what is working for me. I am in a better place these days. Thank you & I also Thank GOD!

  • Luke

    The path of least resistance doesn’t mean the path of no resistance…

  • Boris

    Only a fool takes the hard path just because it is right.

  • Edward

    I am also a yoga student (Bikram), and as I have come to learn, for me, introducing resistance into my posture is the best way to injure myself, not going with the natural flow of my body’s limitations. In yoga, I have learned to take myself right to the brink of resistance, right to the point where it feels like I need to force my way, or push through, and that’s where I stop and allow the stillness and allow the posture to do the work. The best approach is soft and gentle, the resistance is there, because thats the nature of the body. So it is in life, there will always be resistance, I don’t think life is hard, life is life, neither hard nor easy, it’s an individual thing, as we make it to be through choices. The Path of least resistance is the path of most allowing! The Path that most allows you to be you, the path that produces the most clarity, the path of alignment

  • Tiffany

    I completely agree with this articles meaning. To me, when reading between the lines, there is much more to this article than Yoga. Mastin speaks of what happens to a sedentary body when he says, “Basically, left to its own devices – your body will hurt itself if it’s not given direction on how to counteract its
    tendency to take the easy path”. Yes, believe it or not, doing nothing with our bodies… no movement, other than slumping on a sofa or chair, is the easy path for the body and will make it weak in the future. Mason is providing this as an analogy to hard work in life, saying that how we go about making career choices in life is the same. If we take the “easy” path in life, which for many is the grueling “9 to 5” job that they hate, because a quick paycheck is provided, which is much easier than starting a business from scratch, it appears to be easer, but is not at all if it leads to misery due to lack of motivation. On the other hand, if individuals choose to follow their passion in life, making very little money in the beginning, this path is much more uncomfortable initially, but in the long run, individuals who take this route are often happier. For those who are able to find happiness in their careers without having to suffer much in the beginning,that’s great; but for most, I think its necessary to take the path of more


  • Brenda

    It’s not the path of least resistance that is the issue here it is the structure. First and foremost you have to be aware of the structure. The path of least resistance follows the structure. See the 15 minute video from Robert Fritz on his web site to understand more. One does not have to be right while the other is wrong, black or white, that is limiting thinking, there are always more options so don’t limit yourself to this or that or immediately judge it as wrong. Judgement puts up a wall and does not allow the unlimited possibilities to come in.