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  • Writer's pictureMairin McCracken

The Huddle #8: Do Less.

In my most recent yoga training, we were instructed to come up with an advanced sequence. I’m not going to lie to you, I felt pretty cocky. I came up with a high-intensity set and was ready to wow the group… until my teacher told me that my flow needed to be restorative sequence. In her words, sinceI was already very familiar with high intensity, my “advanced practice” would be a practice in “doing less.”

Restorative yoga is all about slowing down. It’s about easing back. It’s about gentleness, patience, and breath.

I f**king hate it.*

*Hated it, that is. I got through the sequence. I didn’t die, but I did have to work at it. Sitting still is scary, but dare I say - that with some effort - I actually felt… peaceful.

One of my friends recently looked and me and told me bluntly: “ Busy is the new stupid”. There’s no trophy for rushing. There’s no prize for solving every problem imaginable before any problem has arisen, or analyzing every back-and-forth text with that crush, or hashing it out every time a loved one crosses a boundary.

I used to pride myself on my honesty. Sharing my thoughts and my feelings and getting on my high horse about being “authentic” and “real”. What I didn’t realize before is that thoughts and feelings are fluid. They change.

In the yoga sutras, the word for truth is “satya”. Satya, a pillar of yoga, is absolute truth. Thoughts and feelings, no matter how real they feel in the moment, are not a part of satya, and Patanjali would argue that we need to be careful when sharing things that are true in the moment, rather than absolutely true.

Our emotions are not permanent residents, but rather visiting guests. While each is worthy to a welcome, no thought or feeling comes with a contract. There’s no long term commitment. And - I know this may sound crazy - not everything needs to be said, solved, or figured out.

Here’s my challenge: can you bear witness to your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, while also allowing yourself some breathing room? Can you hear yourself out when you’re feeling irritated, and then, even just for one moment, sit with the irritation, and then set it down and acknowledge that it will pass? No downward spiral, no calling anyone to “vent”, no angry emails. Just, breathe. Do the "work" of doing less work. Do less.

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