Namaste Yogis & Yoginis,
I have discovered I need a lot of space. A lot. To dream, to write, to breathe, to heal, to repair, to be creative, to energise, to go deep in meditation, to be vulnerable, to relate fully, to create ties that bond, to create foundation, to be efficient, to think clearly, to be productive, to explore my asana and pranayama practice, to study, to test out all the different ways of doing things, to test out all the different methods of yoga, to digest – physically and metaphysically, to integrate, to be the best person I can be, to be present, to truly feel, to figure out what is real and unreal, to unravel the stories of my mind and come to the truth, to tidy, clean & de-clutter, to gain knowledge, to experience, to turn information into wisdom, to achieve all the things that are important to me.
Now – a lot of you will hear this description of space and think I mean time... but no, I mean space. Space is what we have when we don't fill up our time with things we don't need.
And, it's not just me. I think everyone needs a lot of space. Regardless of who you are, or what you “do” in life. I'm not the only one saying this – life coaches, spiritual teachers, time management experts, business leaders all recommend we get rid of the “clutter” (physical, mental, spiritual) and create space for our best lives. Even the word for the “goal” that everyone seems to be after (happiness) implies this – in Sanskrit the word for “happiness” is “sukkha”, and “sukkha” literally means GOOD SPACE!
We all know we are not meant to pile up our plates with food and shovel it all down as fast as we can, afterwards groaning and complaining we feel ill/can't move/too full. So why in our lives do we pile up the things we have to do – and tear through them – afterwards groaning and complaining that we are time poor/don't have enough time/always tired/ always busy. Even our dessert (rest/play time) is excessive – cramming in hours of TV or Facebook, or partying, or using up every spare moment meeting someone for coffee, attending every event, stretching ourselves thin. Remember what happened to Mr Cresote after just “one more wafer-thin mint” (for those too young- google! Warning – it is a little gross – kind of like the excess some people have indulged in today) .
We have to trim down. If there are 10 things on your to do list today – cross out at least 5. We have lost the capacity to know how much we can do in a reasonable amount of time and have a quality result. It has all become about quantity – not quality. It is hard to stand up against the matrix of “more” but you can do it!! Know who you want to be, know what you want and need to feel fulfilled in life and prioritise your actions and time accordingly. Whatever your goal – to be healthy, a good parent, a dedicated yogi – you need space for this to happen. Practice “viveka” (discernment) to know what actions will take you towards/away from that goal. Try to avoid acting simply out of habit/obligation/because everyone else is. Robert Svoboda suggests we need to be mavericks to truly be on a spiritual path.
Paradoxically – if you create space, you achieve more. You relax, think more clearly, are more present, are more skilful in your actions and efforts, integrate the knowledge you need, expend less energy and follow a more direct path to your goal. Anyone who has had the experience of adding a daily meditation practice to what felt like an overwhelmed life can testify to this. But you can't create space with the intention of doing more – that kind of defeats the purpose – and almosts acts as a barrier to the benefits. You simply need to create space for its own sake, be present, and allow the right actions to flow through you.
This is simple, but not easy. Even though I have attempted to live this way for well over a decade, I constantly get distracted and forget, and have to start over. It is a daily discipline, but one that bears the sweetest fruit. I sincerely hope you give it a try.
p.s sorry for missing my September newsletter – I was creating space for healing! Hopefully have my balance back now and won't miss any more <3
THE GIFT OF SIMPLICITY
Don't underestimate the simple postures. Tiger & cat, for example, contain within them all the elements you need for more advanced postures like dog pose, handstand, headstand and back bend.
The standing poses help us to develop the skills of clearing the nadis (energy channels) and directing energy flow; as well developing the qualities of the spine, muscles and joints that we need so that our advanced postures ( especially inversions, when we get to them) are light and effortless, reducing both the risk of injury and the amount of energy and strength needed.
The only teaching on asana in the Yoga Sutras is “asanam sthiram sukkham”. The postures should be steady and... although often translated as easy/comfortable... now we know from the editorial “sukkham” means having GOOD SPACE! The posture should be spacious!! The basic postures help us learn how to align well and create that good space.
They are foundation that the advanced postures are practiced on. Stay present with them, and develop the skills within, and your advanced postures will naturally and organically evolve <3