I did a post a few weeks ago on minimalism. This is something that I have become quite passionate about and I would definitely say it is my way of life now. I wanted to go into it in a bit more depth, and also link minimalism another passion of mine- yoga.
The less I have the happier I seem to become.
Yoga has helped me massively on this journey. It is through yoga that I have discovered that all that matters is what is on the inside. All these materials we have in our lives do not define us. In fact they actually distract us from what is important when we place value in something detached from ourselves. We start to get ruled by these objects in our lives and we feel the need to buy more and more.
It is interesting, today I have been learning about Marx at university and he has said all of this. We value these ‘commodities’ that can be sold and thus people make money from them. Yet it comes back with negative repercussions that we have to buy these commodities that we have spent time making and selling, and they just rule our lives.
When you are a consumer it is a never ending cycle of buying and needing more and more. Trust me I used to be that person so I know all this first hand. Yoga helped me brake out of that cycle: It gives you the confidence to go against the grain of society and not feel pressured into buying the latest phone or pair of shoes. It is liberating when you can free yourself from all of that.
In the Eight Limbs of Yoga, it also teaches us that aparigrana– non-possessiveness- is an ethical principle we should be living by. This means that we should try to give up everything we don’t need in order to live. This may sound simple to some and others may ask what is the point. But when you have less you really value what you do have and you start to realise there isn’t much point in having more than you need to live. This frees up time and money you could spend on loved ones and bringing more happiness into your life.
For me, yoga and minimalism are definitely two things that work well together. It may not seem so in our western society- everyone is buying expensive yoga gear and yoga studios can be very expensive. But if you go back to the roots of yoga in India 5000 years ago you will find that it is a practice of minimalism. Some of the most basic classes I go too are the most enjoyable for me and I get the most out of them.
I think that is the same for life. When too much is added our enjoyment lessens. We spread it thin. When we have less in our lives our joy is amplified because even the simplest things can bring us great happiness. We learn to appreciate what is around us.
I wonder if our society will ever change and if minimalism will become a global ‘norm’…
We will have to see.