I have been watching and working with David Robson's Learn to Float videos (they focus on the jumping back and through aspects of the Ashtanga yoga practice and can be ordered here: http://learntofloat.com/
). In addition to being inspiring, these videos also offer a nice correction.
In the video, he offers the old pearl of wisdom that the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. Applied to the traditional sun salutations, he means that the basic postures are all that are needed, and that excessive flourishes, adjustments, dare I say, fidgets, aren't helpful. In fact, they may be harmful over the long run.
I think we've all seen (or done!) what he's talking about. Entering into a yoga pose by way of fancy-dancy leg extensions and/or swirly twists of the wrists, or the very dramatic shoulder rolls and adjustments that many of us do when moving from Chautaranga to Upward Dog in Vinyasa.
These are our ticks, and they take energy and focus away from the task at hand. Rather than simply entering the pose, and I use the word "simple" advisedly here, we spill out our attention by developing and attending to excessive habits.
This seems applicable to other arenas in life as well. How do we spend time fidgeting rather than cleanly doing what is called for?
For example, I've been thinking about multiple kinds of fidgets involved in my writing. It strikes me that there are at least two kinds:
1. Fidgets/habits around the act of writing: checking email, looking back over notes, running spell check, etc.
2. Fidgets/habits within the piece of writing: My "tells" include "That is to say," "However," the word "too," and other signs that indicate I need to write a clearer account of my argument at that moment and/or a stronger transition.
I think for me anyway, the reason I develop and expend energy on the fidgets is that thought they take energy away from the main practice, they are easier than the real thing.
Ironically, though, they do zap the energy/stability necessary for my real task (spell checking takes away from writing, all that shoulder rolling can't be healthy, etc.).
Again, not easy, but a beautiful thought, to focus on stripping down to the strong, clean lines of our true practice.
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