Embrace Simplicity

A yoga practice can appear complicated when a novice watches experienced yogis do their moves. It is understandable why one would hesitate getting on the mat. Not to mention the plethora of styles that are emerging on what seems a daily basis. The photos of serious twists and balance can push the "not me" button in the mind of one on the fence of giving yoga a try.

Here's the deal...it is a practice. Start simple, stay simple. The more you practice, what appeared too complicated to even attempt will eventually join the ranks of what is simple in your practice. Practice to embrace the inner workings of the body as you immerse yourself in a move.

It takes life experience to truly embrace the philosophy of "keep it simple." The word simplicity implies there are no bells and whistles to enjoy. One assumes simplicity lacks complexity; however, this assumption is wrong. It is the perceiver's choice to feel and absorb the details of what appears to lack substance. The heart and mind are given time to synchronize. Allow that to happen and feel what happens.

Leonardo da Vinci said: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Teaching a magnificent woman, who is handling the challenges of cancer, expanded my appreciation of simplicity with just one pose. Still weak from a recent chemo treatment, we focused on breathing and grounding poses to stabilize and nourish. Dandasana (Staff pose) revealed the magic of stillness.

To help the spine re-learn the action of being straight and strong, she sat with her back against the wall. The shoulders were rolled back and down so that she could feel the scapulas gently press the wall. The straight arms pressing on the palms into the Earth enhanced the sense of strength. The dorsi flexed feet of extended legs with engaged quadriceps activated the leg muscles. She was strong without force.

As she inhaled, she felt inspired. As she exhaled, she felt the flow of energy move. A simple pose with complex results. Anatomically, the body was active while the mind  relaxed. The synaptic connections in the brain relayed the message to release the enzymes that ignite the internal pharmacy to deliver the chemicals to restore. It is only when the body is in the parasympathetic state the immune system can truly function.

The connection to the Earth in an active, conscious state provided stability and confidence. Taking time to push fears into the ground to be recycled awakened a sense of well-being. Psychologically, the mind experienced a new perspective and truly enjoyed the beauty of the present moment. Each moment built onto the next moment and a new bridge was crossed.

The envisioning of a golden thread coming down from above into the crown of the head added to the strength of the pose. I could see her be lifted up ever so slightly. I guided her to "see" each organ smile...then, each cell. The power of smiling added to her input of positive energy. In fact, her Dandasana transcended from being a pose to a sophisticated state of being.

Ten minutes of Staff pose felt like a timeless sense of bliss. Simple...yet, not. To guide and interconnect with this state of being was a gift for both of us. The uniting of the energies emerged with the simple action of being present and aware of the details. Healing was taking place.

After our practice, she felt more energy, no more pain, and the color of the skin was vibrant. I share this story for those blessed with good health and those in pursuit of homestasis. There is always plenty to learn why and how something works. But, sometimes just letting it happen without mental interference is just what the mind, body, and spirit needs.

Practice sophisticated simplicity. You might find it was just what you have been seeking.



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