This post is aptly named, given it’s my coming full circle that is responsible for my return to this whole writing gig (i.e. my blog) after a not-so-brief hiatus. I had taken a break from my writing (and, if we’re being completely honest here, my simple living journey altogether) to focus more on my yoga studies. In hindsight, the irony of the situation is laughable, to say the least.
I say ironic because my two seemingly separate and unrelated journeys—yoga and living simply—were, as I discovered, pretty much one and the same.
Up until recently, I had never made the simple living/yoga connection. When I first set out on my quest toward living a more simplified life back in 2014, my yoga practice was strictly asana based; in fact, I knew absolutely nothing of the yoga practice that settled beneath the surface of the poses. Even seven months after I started my simple living journey, when I began my studies for my yoga teacher training certification, I had made absolutely zero connection between the two.
Sure, in the beginning of my studies, there were subtle hints of that connection via various yogic nuggets of wisdom, including a few of the following quotes from Buddha:
http://gulfcoastbigband.com/wp-json/oembed/1.0/embed?url=http://gulfcoastbigband.com/concert-schedule/ see this site “Greater happiness comes with simplicity rather than complexity.”
“You only lose what you cling to.”
“Chill Homie, you need to let that shit go.” (OK, perhaps this one was paraphrased a bit.)
But then the mysterious and serendipitous ways of the universe brought the parallels of my two journeys to the forefront when I delved a little deeper into the yoga beyond the poses—namely, the yamas and niyamas.
For those not familiar with the yamas and niyamas, they’re kind of like the “ten commandments” of yoga: a set of social and individual disciplines geared toward living a life filled with authenticity, awareness, and with peace toward others as well as within oneself. (In other words, how to happily live life without being an asshole.)
To offer a better understanding, I’ve listed each of them below:
- Ahimsa (non-violence)
- Satya (truthfulness)
- Asteya (non-stealing)
- Brahmacharya (non-excess)
- Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)
- Saucha (purity)
- Santosha (contentment)
- Tapas (self-discipline)
- Svadhyaya (self-study)
- Ishvara Prandihana (surrender)
For the past year, a large chunk of my practice has revolved around these very guidelines. I have them as a screensaver on my phone. I have one of them tattooed on my forearm. I teach workshops about them. And I can safely say, without any hesitation, that they were the catalyst for me getting back on my path of living a more simplified life, and in turn, getting me back to writing about it.
Now back to my revelation.
When I started looking at each of the yamas and niyamas individually, the yoga/simple living connection was made with a couple of them right off the bat: brahmacharya (non-excess) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness) were the two that stood out to me immediately.
But then as I continued to dig, the connection to the other less obvious, but equally significant ones began to manifest:
- Santosha (contentment) = being content with what is = not needing anything other than what we have right now to feel content and complete = living simply
- Asteya (non-stealing) = not stealing from others = not taking more than what we need so others go without = living simply
- Ahimsa (non-violence) = being kind to our planet by not overusing resources = taking only what fulfills our needs, not our greed = living simply
- Saucha (cleanliness) = maintaining a clutter-free environment = getting rid of any excess that causes clutter = living simply
It was then that I knew: I knew that in some weird, inexplicable way it was all connected. And for whatever reason, this was the path that was intended for me to discover this connection. For whatever reason, still unbeknownst to me, I was brought to a fork in the road, taking the path that led me away from my original journey only for those roads to merge again and steer me back in the very same direction I veered away from.
Talk about coming full circle, eh?
Now I’m still on the fence about this whole “the universe knows what’s best for us” thing, but my experience sure makes for a compelling argument. Who knows why I was brought away from my journey, only to be brought back to it? Maybe the universe thought I had more to learn. Maybe it knew that I needed to deepen my practice of yoga to continue my journey (which I am eternally grateful for, because who the hell knows where I’d be without my yoga). I don’t know why exactly it brought me away from it, but I do know one thing—I’m sure glad I’m back.