Keeping it Simple

I took a yoga class today that reminded me of the value of simplicity, in yoga practice.

No matter how many hundreds… thousands, perhaps! of times we may do some of the “basic” poses, there is so much to be found in each asana, every time.

Spread the hands and press into the base of the thumb and index finger to feel the lower arm rotate inward, as the upper arm externally rotates from the shoulder… so much going on here, when we slow it down and pay attention — the ordinary becomes fascinating. This fascination invites embodiment and presence.

It reminds me, in a way, of that saying about meditation practice: that it is “simple, but not easy.” It is simple in practice, to just watch the breath, to pay attention. But it is very difficult in practice to continue to stay with the breath, to pay attention.

This has echoes of the sutra: Sthira sukham asanam. Because stillness requires a balance of effort and ease. It calls for strong intention and steady watchfulness supporting an ease in the body. This kind of stillness is neither collapsing nor rigid. It is balanced.

We do so much flinging our arms and legs about — I don’t just mean during yoga practice, but that too! — and so little being still enough to really feel into the living of our lives. This is what a mindful practice of the most simple poses may teach.

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