How simple can it be?

meditation yoga blog

Happy month of May. As a kid, my mother used to remind me each year that in May “you do as you please” (En Mai, fais ce qu’il te plait!). Although originally contrasted to the changing weather patterns of April (En Avril, ne te découvre pas d’un fil – or don’t put any layers away in April), this phrase becomes my mantra each year in May 😊.

In our northern atmosphere, Mother Nature is now making the perhaps long-awaited spring season more real and tangible. Just as the springing trees and the blooming fields, you might feel a surge of inspiration or energy for the upcoming, brighter months. In this vein, spring comes with a tradition of clearing – making space for something new. Whether it is a subtle, energetic thing or a dramatic life shift, you might enjoy contemplating what is to be cleared or, put it differently…

What in your life can be simplified?

Last week I decided to go across the bridge to Sweden and do wild camping on my own. I have never been anything near a camper or outdoor guy (except for summer picnics and terrace coffees!), yet suddenly I felt drawn to try something else than the usual cabin or B&B booking. I ended up having quite of an adventure, and what struck me the most was the first night, in an unknown forest by myself, listening to the light rain drops on the tent and the sunset bird calls, and realizing the gift and accessibility of the simplicity I was experiencing. Right there, in this tiny tent, I had everything I needed at this moment: water, simple food, warm gears, silence, my journal, and my book. It felt utterly simple but so rich at the same time. I was literally “hugged” by nature and experienced deep contentment with what was right here, even the rain.

To be clear, neither am I going to move permanently into a tent nor saying that wild camp is the new yoga (hahaha!). At the same time, searching contexts in which things are cut to the bare minimum, and into a safe space, can lead to profound wonders and rich learnings.

There are many ways to make things simpler, in principle. In practice, however, the busyness or responsibilities of our everyday life or our minds’ tendency to make things more complicated than necessary (see the last newsletter and post) hardly allow room for simplicity.

Simplicity in Yoga

The first yogis in India, app. 3500 years ago, cut strings with the mainstream society in a pretty dramatic way by moving to remote places and live very ascetically—eating as little as possible, practicing for hours, and cutting off distractions including celibacy. To them, a drastically rigorous lifestyle seemed like the right way to come to term with the endless pull they felt from their body’s desires. While it can lead to just as dramatic effects on our consciousness, this kind of way to live our life is not the only one.

Later, instead of denying it, nondual yogis started including and celebrating the body (just as we do if we have practiced asana together) as a way to awaken their consciousness. Their practices included devotions to various deities and the use of Sanskrit mantras (such as Hamsa or Soham) that would clear out the unconscious limiting thoughts and psychic patterns (i.e., vasanas and samskaras) that keep driving our mind and behavior from the bottom of our consciousness.

In the end, regardless of how “all-inclusive” a yogi’s approach to the body, life, and practice was, simplicity still remained central in their view. It is then not so much what we remove from our life (like celibacy… What a relief, right😊?), it is rather how we remove it and with what intent.

In this way, simplicity also translates as clarity as we remove what is covering our consciousness and full power to ultimately get back in touch with the amazingly powerful simplicity of our own heart-mind: presence.

In other words, our commitment to look for ways to keep things “simple” in our life, minimize complication and drama, and show up to do a supportive practice of some sort—however we do it—will help us keep clarifying our connection to our the Self, something greater, the universe, the Heart, Nature or Life itself.

Simplicity… in Practice

In a more everyday setting, simplicity can be a deep cleaning of our house or the sorting out of our closet, our desktop or the spices cabinet 😉 The first step is to start with something relatively easy and pay attention to how you feel during… and after.

At a relational level, simplicity can look like being intentionally economical in words, expressing what we think or feel in a concise, clear, and authentic way, or staying out of dramas—by noticing in the first place when we are swirled into a particular story.

In a yoga context, simplicity resides at the core of the practice which seeks to clarify the mind and quiet down the thoughts’ constant fluctuations. As you can perhaps experience in the meditation guide attached here, focusing on a singular object like the space between breaths or the back body directly clarifies what we can call “mental noise” and reestablishes a direct connection to a sense of simplicity inside us, which truly does not need much. Even if only for a few seconds, touching such a place again and again will build up a more lasting state of peace, rest, and self-acceptance.

Simplicity… Right now?

Where can you start today? Is there a current “struggle” you can give over to a greater intelligence or offer it to the blooming nature out there? Which simple (or simpler) step can you take now? Perhaps a walk in nature and leave your phone home for a few hours?

As always, I hope this post gives you some inspiration and support to some extent exactly where you are. Let me know how it lands and how you are doing, I am always happy to hear from you.  

I look forward to being connected with you very soon.

In simplicity and gratitude,


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