Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yoga: a minimalist's path

I love the simplicity and minimalism of the Ashtanga yoga practice and just wrote about it in this guest post for my friend Ben’s blogMinimalist Muscle.

I discuss the 7 reasons why Ashtanga yoga is a minimalist's gym (I’m sure I left some things out so please add to this list if you think of anything!):
  1. Yoga minimizes equipment: The only equipment you really need is your body. No shoes and no socks. A mat is nice but not even necessary. No need for weight machines – your body provides all the weight and resistance you need.
  2. Yoga simplifies food consumption: The practice of yoga brings greater awareness to the food you put into your body. People become drawn towards simple, healthy, whole, vegetarian foods that nourish the body.
  3. Yoga minimizes lost time and money: While I may not always have the hours to devote to the physical practice, the practice of yoga helps simplify life habits (minimizing loss of precious time and money), including: 
    • What I eat
    • The time I go to bed
    • The relationships I nurture
    • The way I socialize
    • The things I buy
    • The projects I invest time and energy in
    • My professional interests and direction
  4. Yoga turns you into your own teacher/trainer/coach: In the Ashtanga yoga style, everybody learns the postures and the correct order in which to do them. This means you can practice anytime and anywhere (i.e. hotel room floor when traveling). 
  5. Yoga develops functional muscle: The Ashtanga yoga practice will help you build muscle while also increasing flexibility... the ideal combination for a healthy, lithe, functional body.
  6. Yoga de-clutters unproductive thoughts: The physical intensity of the yoga practice makes your mind focused (it’s hard to think about anything besides breathing when your muscles are shaking, sweat is dripping, and you’re trying to hold a certain position). Thoughts, worries, anxieties, stresses that usually clutter your mind are minimized and silenced.
  7. Yoga is a traveling gym: The Ashtanga yoga community is a global, growing community of people with shared interests, purpose, and goals. In many cities all of the world, you will find an Ashtanga teacher that offers the same practice…. it’s a traveling gym that meets you wherever you are.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, so much clarity of purpose with just enough poetry to keep it very, very human. Thanks, Christina. Makes me feel guilty for skipping Mysore the past couple of days! Just don't have the energy, recognition of which is part of the practice, too.
    BTW - is Green Metropolis the choice for the next reading group session (Windala?).