One of the last few Daily Dose of Yoga posts. Feel free to use or disregard at your discretion.
Day 25: Undoing:
Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
— Lin Yutang via Quotations Page
I often run up against the urge to Get Shit Done, and this urge is especially prevalent and pressing at Christmas. Like, if I do not Do All The Things, it will not actually be Christmas.
For example, I have a Thing about wrapping gifts. If I ever give you a Christmas (does not apply to, say, birthday or other gifts, largely for reasons of tradition) present in only a gift bag, that is generally a sign that:
- I am in even more of a holiday rush than usual.
- Your gift is some fucked up shape and/or contains many small pieces.
- I might not actually care that much, after all.
Okay, so that last one almost never actually happens. But it is often one I am thinking. “I am wrapping these gifts so awesomely because I care about this person.” Which, I mean, is fine as far as it goes — but in the long run, is anyone’s Christmas going to be ruined because I did not add curly ribbon to their package?**
Similarly, I have this Thing about Christmas cooking. Whether it is cookies beforehand or meals on Christmas Eve and/or Day — and in spite of the fact that I’ve become much more flexible about what constitutes appropriately festive food — having the “right” Christmas foods is a big deal to me. Sometimes I get so worked up over food prep that it stresses me out in terms of enjoying the actual day. Part of that is because I legitimately enjoy the food prep itself — and I don’t want to deny myself that enjoyment — but some of it is feeling the pressure to Get (Food) Shit Done.
So I’ve slowly been learning how to undo for the holidays — starting with Thanksgiving (see food prep pressure above) but especially focusing on Christmas (i.e., food prep pressure plus All The Things). And consciously deciding to do some things and mindfully choosing to leave others undone it is very much its own practice. I am not there yet, in Christmas or in everyday life, but I am slowly coming to the realizations that: a) no, pierogi are no the be-all and end-all of Christmas; b) no one really cares whether their present is in shiny paper or not.
** Seriously, if your Christmas has been or is about to be ruined for lack of curly ribbon, comment here or email me. I will bust out the scissors and go to town.
Day 26: Reclined Bound Angle
Whether I use props or not — and for other people, that’s largely going to depend on individual anatomy — to me, this is a posture about letting go.
[Video by Esther Ekhart via YouTube.]
More than any other pose — even savasana — this is the one where I realize that no muscular effort is going to move me deeper into the posture. The only way for me to get more from this pose is to do less.