by Eric Stewart
We’ve been diving into the Winter Intensive here at Solaluna. The weather has fluctuated, with the temperature going way, way down, and now up (after -13 degrees, even 20 above zero feels like spring). Meanwhile, an enthusiastic group of participants carries on with practice, meeting what yoga has to offer each day.
Bodies and minds and moods change even more than the weather. The consistency of the practice is an amazing and humbling space in which to witness this change.
Spending many hours teaching, I am reminded of an issue that often arises during intensives and teacher training, as students come face to face with the depth of yoga, and the intricacy of the body in its layers and workings.
Encountering such depth and complexity, one might be justified in asking, why call it Simple Yoga?
Yoga is complex. Bodies are complex. Where’s the simple part?
As it happens, what is simple exists alongside and inside the complexity. The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the simple parts of Simple Yoga represent ways to be aware of complexity, to live in complexity and to engage in complex actions without being overwhelmed or injured.
A practice that ignores or avoids complexity would be simplistic yoga. Instead, Simple Yoga is about nourishing a center in a complex world.
Here are some key elements of the method that support simplicity:
Coordination of the whole person is emphasized over particular aims such as flexibility, strength or alignment. Instead, these beneficial qualities grow out of effective coordination.
Simple Yoga helps people recognize and let go of unconscious habits that create strain. Letting go allows access to underlying coordination. In this way, Simple Yoga builds skill through subtraction, instead of adding skills on top of inefficient habits.
The method uses small, centered actions to effect larger transformation, which helps people learn to move and act from a place of support.
When simple actions have support, they may be applied cumulatively to more complex and challenging actions. This is relevant to specific practices such as asana and pranayma. It also applies to daily existence in a body and interaction with people and surroundings.
If you are in the area and have never attended a class at Solaluna, check out our schedule. In addition to Simple Yoga, we offer classes in Integral Yoga, as well as yoga combined with Pilates. We also have a vinyasa class that will return to the schedule in February.
First class you take is free!
Happy January, wherever you are.