Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to find not just one inspiring yoga teacher, but a handful. Today’s teacher and his class was one where the message resonated strongly with me.
I’ve been a bit scattered this past week (okay, maybe more than a bit). There is so much to do, so much planning that has to happen, and so much excitement inside, that it’s been hard to stick with my normal gym / yoga routine. I finally carved out some time for myself this evening, and found myself on my mat in a yoga class.
The theme of today’s class was simplicity. We were being challenged to find the beauty and the strength in the simple and foundational postures, in order to grow our practice and to grow stronger in preparation for flashy poses.
As you can imagine, when we were told this, I didn’t expect it to be easy. Anyone who hears me talk about yoga and acro yoga knows that above all else, it is the community that inspires my dedication. Sure, acro is playful and fun, but it’s the trust and the security that strikes me the most. More than once have I found myself upside down and balanced on someone’s feet, before realizing that I don’t even know their name. No matter what, my trust in my base and my spotters is unwavering. Having said that – I still love the flashy stuff! I love ‘popping’ (i.e. being tossed in the air and seeing how high and what sorts of tricks we can do), and I love doing the poses that look impressive.
My personal practise is the same. I love the peace and sense of grounding that I get from a Sun Salutation, and when I need to, am more than happy to rest in child’s pose while the class does something challenging. At the same time, my ego definitely gets a sense of accomplishment from nailing a challenging arm balance or showing off an advanced back bend.
Coming back to today’s class – I was able to enjoy the simplicity of the poses and flow that we did. I didn’t miss doing any of the flashy poses like I thought I would, and I still felt challenged. Part way through class, I realized that a large part of my practice going forward will be the simple things, as I’m fairly confident that yoga on a boat will take some getting used to, and it may not be conducive to more advanced balancing postures (at least not in the beginning). It will be humbling, and a challenge in it’s own way.
The most resonating moment of class, was in Savasana. As we were lying there, Duncan shared the following thought: ‘Can you take delight in the simple things? When you do, the fancy things become so much more fun.’ The answer in my soul was a resounding ‘Yes!’ to simplicity. It was something I already knew, but my reaction to having that question posed served as yet one more source of confirmation.
What I don’t know? What the fancy things will be or how they will affect me. Yoga is one story – after practicing simplicity, it is more fun to do something that just looks impressive. I’m curious how this thought will apply in more material ways. How different little luxuries will seem after a month or two of us not having them on the boat. It made me question if they would still be something that we miss, or if they are superfluous to our lives and things we will never think twice about. At this point, I don’t have an answer, but I’m looking forward to it evolving through reflection. No matter what the answer is, it leaves a lot to think about.