The art of simplifying

Hubby overheard me the other weekend fielding my mum’s questions about my yoga. I was frustrated that she just asked one new question after another without following up on anything I said. Did she actually hear? Was she listening? It felt as though she was just going through a questionnaire, where the act of asking was more important than getting an answer.

Hubby said I made it too complicated; I said I was trying to engage her and not sound defensive by giving terse one-word answers. He advised me next time (you mean I have to face this again???) to keep it simple.

“Uh, so how do you explain OM and still keep it simple?” I was sarcastic. Oh yes, and defensive.

“Well, tell me what it means first.” So I did. I talked about small self and big Self, about the union of Yoga, about the perfect sound and the inner silence, the vibrations of the universe and Universal Consciousness.

“OK, so you could have just told her it means life, the individual, and the universe. It kind of means Everything. If she really needed more, quote Genesis to her: in the beginning was the word… She’ll get it then.”

Huh. I guess that kind of covers it.

“So what about Ganesh? She also asked about why I wear a Ganesh pendant.”

“The god of obstacles? You could also say you just like him because you like yoga. It’s like me and Athena, right? I like Greek stuff, I used to wear a ring with Athena’s head on it. It meant something to me but not that I was actually worshipping Zeus & co!”

Mmm. I guess that would work. So I don’t need to draw complicated analogies with the obstacles of āsana practice and how that relates to the inner work, or digress as I wonder about the attributes of deities in all cultures being a mirror of what it is to be human? I don’t, in fact, need to talk about whether Yoga is a religion or not? It seems not!

“And namaste?”

“Just a respectful greeting, or something you say at the end of the class to thank the teacher.”


How is he so good at this?




8 thoughts on “The art of simplifying

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  1. I think there is a tendency for we Westerners to always have to explain our actions. Allow your actions to explain your actions and let the questioner develop their own conclusions. During the recent workshop with H.S. Arun, an overzealous student asked him about his mantra practice to which he replied: It’s a secret not be shared with anyone, otherwise it will lose its potency. She appeared shocked at his response. Particularly because he is so generous with his teachings of Asana. What I learned from that exchange is that our practice is sacred to us only. We can share our teachings to who wants to learn them, but ultimately our practice is for our eyes only. If people ask you about your Ganesh, tell them it is part of your practice and leave it at that. These are the samskaras we have to overcome in this lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for this comment, you make me think — as always! I’m torn — mystifying isn’t helpful, but privacy is necessary. Personally I always appreciate anything my teachers tell me about how they practice, because it’s inspiring in different ways. But I guess I usually wait for them to volunteer something rather than asking. But when it comes to families, the rules are different!

      Liked by 1 person

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