I have often wondered what it would have been like, to have lived during an earlier time; a time without text messaging and Facebook, without cell phones and fancy television screens; a time where children played outside, catching crickets in their bare feet and returned home in time to enjoy the supper that their mother had prepared for the family. Living during an earlier time certainly sounds simpler, without the incessant external noise and busyness that most of us face on a daily basis.
As a yogi, I’ve often wondered if one of the reasons we come to our yoga mats is in search of simplicity – for a way to silence the noise in our lives. While it is true that yoga studios are typically serene, smell like lavender and sound like sweet, humming chants, the truth is that our external environments can only do so much. We can try to blame our busy schedules and stressors on life, all while knowing deep down that this is a projection of the truth. It’s we alone who entertain the endless list of “to dos” and “shoulds,” or compare ourselves to others or seek perfection. It is our innate drive to exist and succeed in the external world that complicate our seemingly simple lives. While the busyness may initially bring us happiness, the quest is complicated. Chasing busyness has come at the sacrifice of my health, integrity, and peace of mind.
How then, can we live in integrity and with simplicity? I like to believe that one way is through our yoga. Choosing to practice yoga and meditation facilitate the stilling of our external noise. Through our breath and gentle movements, we create a sacred space of awareness, perhaps radical acceptance. In stillness, we can then begin embracing the simplicity that is our lives.
We find simplicity in our intuition and during the moments we just know – our likes and dislikes, our hopes, dreams and aspirations. Accessing our inner truth is in fact simple – much simpler than we realize.
We find simplicity in the rawness of our emotions – our moments of joy, sadness and celebration. It is the ease with which we allow our tears to stain our cheeks in pigeon pose. It is the same simplicity that we feel when our hearts are bursting with joy at the mention of happy news.
This simplicity is found also, in the sweet moments of life, the ones we are oftentimes too preoccupied to notice: the warmth of a dear friend’s hug, a Colorado sunrise, the touch of the rain, the smell of a newborn baby, a cleansing, deep breath, the remembrance of a first kiss and the heartache of a first breakup. It is choosing to be happy in moments of struggle and choosing to face the uncertainty of life with unwavering trust.
Above all, we find the most profound simplicity in being human, in each and every moment of life and breath. By quieting the chatter of our minds and the relentless banter of our egos, we are can embrace the simplicity that is offered to us each and every day.
Let us begin on our mats.
By Erin Walton