Last year during a visit to the Sivananda Yoga Ashram I was introduced to a really neat concept.
It’s called “The Principle of Little.”
It was 7:30AM and there I was sitting in lotus position at the Temple where morning and evening meditations take place. I was kind of tired because my body had not adjusted to Ashram life. It typically took me three days to get into the rigid spiritual routine and this was just day two.
Once our meditation and Sanskrit chants were complete, we had a brief talk typically given by the Swami.
Soft spoken, kind and somewhat shy this guy said, “We do too much in life.”
“Yup!” I could not agree more completely.
But then next he said, “We all have a mission and it’s a BIG ONE.”
WHAT? I thought. Didn’t he just say we all do too much in life?
Saying these two statements one after another shocked me. I wasn’t sure what he meant or what he was trying to explain.
All I could think was, “Oh My GOD it’s only 7:30AM on my second day and I’m in overwhelm mode trying to figure this sh*t out.”
Quickly I returned to my breath, relaxed my shoulders and knew there was nothing for me to get upset about.
What he said next explained it all. I got it. It clicked!
“In life,” Swami explained, “in the developed nations we live in excess. Big meals. Long days. Too much sleep. Too little sleep. Too much work. Too little work. Even too much vacation for some of us! (That might be me recently)
The issue with this is none of it is sustainable over time. And things like too much food and too much work can lead to serious illness.
The solution he suggested is this:
- Do a little exercise
- Do a little breathing
- Do a little work
- Do a little meditation
- Eat a little meal
- Get a little sleep
Interestingly, life at the Ashram was based on this concept and it’s PRECISELY why my body, mind and Spirit felt so unbelievably happy, satisfied and vibrant.
So the next time you find yourself feeling off center or getting sick, look back and re-examine where you may have overdone something in any area of your life.
Then go back to practicing The Principle of Little.
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