This month’s sankalpa has not been so simple to put into words, so it’s taken some time for us to shape the concept into everyday language.
But what is time? In the grand scheme of things?!
Initially we were attracted to an intention surrounding the human condition to crave deep intensity. We witness it all the time as yoga facilitators; the students who forever seek more depth, heat, more burn, sweat, sensation and tears (both rips and the salty kind).
We witness it beyond the edges; restaurants offering the next new food concept, adventure holidays travelling to even wilder lands, conversations craving apparent depth because small talk about the weather or how your day is going, is no longer good enough. We seek deep.
Of course, it’s amazing to adventure and want to experience the abundance offered all around. And it’s vital to our progression through life; some direction about where you want to be heading rather than just stumbling blindly through life. But with the wider world being so readily available in any given instant, we find ourselves striving and craving for anything, anywhere. Except the very place and space of where and who we are.
With too much choice, comes too much confusion.
And we forget who we are.
When we seek more of anything/everything, then the colourful textures and majesty of the everyday becomes mundane, sepia reels of boredom. No longer good enough, we fixate on where we should/could/would be. And so, we miss the trip we’re on.
The reality is we are exactly where we need to be. All the lessons ready for taking.
But if you’re blindsided by the artificial shininess of more intensity (of any kind; flavour, feeling, form) then you’re losing the glitter dust of the moment of presence.
Our intention this month is to rein in the desire to seek more. Because we’ve learnt that when you reel it in, you allow more space for opportunity to meet you, rather than reaching out to something that pulls us off centre.
On the mat, this translates as holding back from the edges (a recurring theme for us). But it’s true that when we back off just a little, the bodymind opens wide. Leaning back allows us to fall deeper. Try it next time you’re in a life pose (one you feel will be a struggle for eternity); soften, go gentle, give it 80% rather than 100% effort and feel what happens. Use some props; a block, book or strap when you need it, don’t take the deepest option. Go easefully and you’ll notice then it’s less about the physicality of a pose. Something shifts.
The posture you thought you were nowhere near, becomes a living, breathing lesson. You become art.
Practicing with less intensity encourages these portals to become less physical and more whole-body journeys. Magic happens when we soften.
As two girls who were once obsessed with intense Ashtanga, followed by years of the most dynamic vinyasa available, we know that for us, the less intense practices actually allowed us to shift way deeper into the rituals of Yoga. And we lean into that every day with our own self-practice; we now enjoy a full spectrum of intensities, sometimes snail-paced, others like wild fire.
But it’s the slower pace that encourages more magic. It’s the moments when we seek less intensity and soften, that we melt and pour into the layers.
As we lessen effort and dial down the desire to feel more, our minds unravel allowing our bodies to follow.
Genuinely striving for less, somehow allows more.
Rather than seeking more intensity to arrive at the extraordinary, can we allow the everyday rituals to become moments of magic? This month we’ll be encouraging less intensity; smaller ranges of motion, more experience, sensations and flavours. How about we all just strip it back and take the more familiar, ordinary route?
You’ll find magic lurks in the most ordinary of moments.
Seeking light in the everyday ordinary can be such a delight. Brushing teeth while watching shadows fall upon bathroom walls. Feeling skin beneath feet as you cross a carpet or laminate. Brushing hair and noticing the pull of skin to scalp. Snuggling into warm bed linen or fresh laundered clothes. Snuggles with pet companions. The simple acts of preparing dinner and tasting food as you go. Conversation with your partner, housemate or family. Commuting to work and really seeing and observing rather than being on autopilot.
The beautiful thing about discovering the extraordinary in the apparent ordinary is that it makes us incredibly grateful for where we are. Trust us, this practice can be done anywhere, no matter what you’re going through.
Seek the ordinary. Because it is extraordinary.
Lean in and Play Light.