On Friday night, I took two workshops with the incredible Tias Little. If you haven't heard of him before, he's the owner of Prajna Yoga in Santa Fe and is one of the most precise, subtle, and skilled teachers I've ever had the chance to learn from.
One of the things that he kept saying throughout both workshops I took with him was this: "Dare to be simple."
Every time he said it, I smiled inside and thought, Yes, that's what I want to do.
Because he's right, isn't he? Sometimes it actually takes courage to pare things down, to say no to the urge to keep adding on, amping things up, wanting and accumulating more, and instead, keep things simple. When you're part of a culture that's always emphasizing the next new thing--the more shiny, sparkly, and advanced--sometimes 'simple' isn's as appealing.
Similarly, when it comes to practicing yoga, often simple can be more effective.
As a teacher who teaches a lot of yoga classes each week, I sometimes get sick of teaching the same poses over and over again and want to mix things up or create really long, creative sequences. At times, I feel pressure to come up with complicated new transitions or poses to challenge my students; and while there's definitely a place for that and it can be very fun, it was great to be reminded that simple can be just as challenging and inspiring.
No matter how much yoga you've done, there's still always something to learn from simple, from sticking to the basics and using the power of the breath and small alignment tweaks to go further and deeper. Being simple in yoga really does take some pulling back, and that can be a challenge, too.
In a similar vein, I also listened to a podcast interview with Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home over the weekend. As she explained how she's reduced her family's waste to just 1 mason jar of household trash per year through simplifying, I was blown away.
Although I'm not heading in a 'Zero Waste' direction AL ALL (even though it sounds dreamy and I'd definitely like to reduce our waste!), I was moved by her ability to create space in her life.
Bea kept talking about how we accumulate things that we don't need, how we hold on to belongings and buy makeup and new clothes and accessories that don't add anything to our lives (and if anything, just add more stress!), and I felt the urge to do a fall cleaning, to get rid of more and perhaps finally read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up that everyone keeps talking about.
But I want to do more than simplify my yoga practice and my home. I want to simplify my schedule: less doing and more being. I want to simplify my eating: less dining out and more basic meals at home. I want to simplify my wardrobe: why do I have so many regular clothes when I only wear yoga clothes? The list goes on and on...
There's just something about daring to be simple that is speaking to me right now. We'll see how it manifests as we move into fall, but I invite you to join me in pondering this subject and how it applies to your life.
What would you like to simplify in this next season? How can you dare to be simple?