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Less Is More

Week of 11/10/2019 Intention: Svadyaya (Self-study.) "God-whispers." I love that phrase. It means when God gives little "hints" or "messages" about wisdom that might serve us in our present situations. Generally, I am not good at them. Sometimes God has to resort to "God-shoves" or even "God-2x4s-upside-the-heads" before I will listen or see what needs to be seen. I have learned, though, that if a phrase or lesson is seen three times in a short amount of time, generally it's one of those "messages." The focus of this week's blog is one such "message."

Trying to strategize memorizing a 23 pose sequence for training, and needing assistance due to working memory shortcomings since a car accident (working memory is information stored in our brains long enough to manipulate it to do other things with it,) I was asked, "What could you do to help support your working memory?" I knew the answer, but a knot was in my throat as I choked out, "Do less things at one time." This answer was affirmed. I teared up. "But, that is losing part of myself. I love doing all my 'things.' They are what make me 'me.' " Then came the parting of the clouds, the sunbeam shining down lighting up the room, angels singing, and THE MESSAGE, "You just need to back up for a while so that your body/brain can heal, and then you can gradually add back more things as you can tolerate them. But your body and brain cannot heal under constant stress."

How does this apply to yoga? Well, then came the second "nudge" in yoga training. The trainer, Libby Hinsley, also a physical therapist, was explaining that we can train ourselves to be our own healers in class by not only (1) paying attention to how we feel in yoga class, but (2) paying attention to how we feel for up to 3 days after. This makes so much sense! In this case, our bodies are giving us "whispers" and "nudges," and hopefully we listen before we get the message upside our heads and have an injury. Learn which poses feel good, and which ones give us feelings which are not so great. Don't do those. Modify. Substitute. Take a break. Listen after class. What feels good? What doesn't? What could have caused it? Make a physical note to change our practice next time. It's self-study and self-care. It's listening.

Finally, the last nudge. The holiday season. We cannot "hear" or "heal" if we are under constant stress. How do we keep our minds clear, present, and happy during this time of amped up energy all around? You guessed it. Less is more. Simplify. Take breaks. Listen. Respond in kind. Heal.

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