An 'aha' moment on my yoga mat. By Laia Bové
I'm good at making things complicated, it's one of my many talents.
I remember a particular vinyasa class I attended a few years back where my yoga teacher made one of her memorable puns as we explored the alignment and intricacies of Eagle pose during the flow.
“Ground into your standing foot, draw energy toward the midline, lengthen your spine, breathe…”
The steps seemed simple, and I had a clear picture in my mind of what this posture should look like.
I felt like I was doing all the right things with my physical body to make it happen, and yet I wobbled.
“Simple, not easy.” she said with a smile.
Sweat was dripping down my temples and I felt my ankle vacillate and teeter in an attempt to find balance, but instead of soaring like an eagle, I fell out.
I experienced a certain degree of frustration and anger raising, yet I chuckled.
I chuckled because it felt like a cold shower as well as a warm hug.
Simple, not easy is a reminder that authentically engaging in experiences that enrich our life, align with our values, and bring about growth takes a considerable effort, and often challenges us.
If you've been a smoker for 30 years and you want to quit because it's a detriment to your health, in truth, all you need to do is... well, just put the cigarette down.
The steps could be simply laid out, but executing each step is where the challenge arises.
I have been exploring practices of yoga, meditation and breath for over a decade now and I find that the main pre-requisite to sticking to the practice and receiving the benefits in mind, body and spirit is consistency; the commitment to showing up.
Knowing the steps to do something, having the knowledge and the skill is not enough for me to commit and succeed.
It feels true for me to say that the people, projects and spaces I commit to long term, the things that I complete, are the ones I put my attention and intention into, the ones I nurture.
They are the parts of my life that bring me the most joy as well as the most grief because they require me to show up on the days that I feel empowered and grounded, as well as the days when I feel like giving up.
The difference between your friend that has written and published a novel and you, who still hasn't, has of course some to do with privilege, talent, resources, and luck, but it is perhaps more than that.
Anyone I know who has published a book has sat down and moved through doubt, fear, writer’s block, and the inevitable urge to clean their pantry. Yet they wrote the book anyway.
I sometimes let myself roll in the muddy puddle of imposter syndrome and self-doubt and find all the reasons to not write, meditate, or get on my mat. I allow the fear of failure or disappointment to stop me from even letting myself start.
When we want to make more space for what feels true to us, we must renounce certain habits, activities, and sometimes relationships that in truth, are part of the illusion and complicate the path.
Whether you intend to self-publish your first novel or your dream is to be able to hold a handstand, the simplicity and the challenge go hand in hand.
The ritual of writing daily and committing to the craft; whether you write a best-selling novel or you decide to shelve it after you've edited the first draft.
Simple, not easy almost hints at the bittersweetness of life; we struggle to find a balance between too little and too much; to bring harmony into our daily lives and remain authentic, while caring for the needs of our families, our friends, and everyone around us.
Leaning into simplicity invites us to remove some of the extra noise and focus on the essentials.
For example, to find more stability in your yoga (asana) practice, perhaps you shift the focus to the breath and grounding postures, and spend less time upside down.
If you wish to develop a daily meditation practice, start with 5 minutes a day instead of overcommitting to doing 30 minutes daily, and then quitting after the first week because it's just too much.
Easy? Not quite
When intentionally shifting routines and habits into rituals to support your well-being, your growth, and your self-care, remember: you don’t have to improve or change yourself at any particular pace.
There is no percentage of self-growth you need to achieve by a certain age or an "impressive" amount of seconds you should be able to hold a handstand, because truth is, you are worthy as you are.
That subtle yet powerful lesson while practicing Eagle pose in yoga class reminded me that what matters is starting even if it feels scary and that the only way to get better or to get to the finish line clearly and simply is by continuing to show up for yourself first.
If you’re ready to simplify your life as you learn to love yourself unconditionally, consider the practice of maitri, a Buddhist practice centred on simplicity, self-love and acceptance, that can truly transform your life.