The purpose of yoga isn’t to be able to finally ease into that asana you’ve struggled with for years. And it certainly isn’t about being able to look good in the latest clothing trend.
It’s about finding peace, balance, and harmony with one’s self and our surroundings. But all too often our surroundings are muted by the amount of stuff we own.
Or should I say, by the amount of stuff that owns us.
The world is full of material things, but real living happens in the space between all of our stuff. – Patrick Allen – Lifehacker.com
Inner peace comes with less material possessions
The less-is-more movement isn’t anything new, although it has enjoyed a renaissance as part of the cord-cutter movement (although freeing oneself of cable TV, alone, isn’t really a minimalist act).
Minimalism has been around for eons. Think of Henry David Thoreau’s year-long journey into Walden …
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
But thanks to such popular sites/Facebook pages as Becoming Minimalist, gaining insight into how to live simply in an overly complicated world is becoming easier.
What minimalism really is about
Minimalism doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your belongings and live like Thoreau. It doesn’t mean you have to be like Christopher McCandless, the subject of Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild, who left his worldly possessions in order to live in the Alaskan wild.
What it means is coming to terms with the materialism and consumerism that fuels our society, and accepting how these attributes blind us from what’s truly important in life.
Finding joy with less
Francis Jay’s book, The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify, is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to declutter their home, spend less money on unneeded material stuff, and rather focus on the important things in life.
Jay runs Miss Minimalist, and is also the author of Frugillionaire, a book focused on ways to live well while saving a fortune. She’s been featured on CNN, BBC, Forbes and more.
The Joy of Less is divided into four parts, which most casual readers will find easy to consume:
- Philosophy – How to look at your stuff differently, while learning why having space in your home is valuable.
- STREAMLINE – Which stands for Start Over, Trash/Treasure/Transfer, Reason for each item, Everything in its place, All surfaces clear, Modules, Limits, If one comes in–one goes out, Narrow it down, and Everyday maintenance. This is a step-by-step guide to help you on your way of breaking free from your material items.
- Room by Room – This section teaches you how to apply the STREAMLINE process to each zone of your home, including saying goodbye to sentimental items and heirlooms.
- Lifestyle – This will help you to continue the minimalist lifestyle, long after you finish reading the book.
At nearly 300 pages, the book is a handful, but its setup helps you jump from section to section as needed. Read it all at once, in order, or use it as a reference guide.
It’s completely up to you.
If you’re seeking balance and happiness, you need only to begin to collect empty spaces
While this book is a great resource for you to begin your minimalist journey, you don’t need a book to get started.
In the end, it’s about getting into the mindset of what’s important, and committing to your quest to reclaim the space in your home and life.
Remember, life doesn’t have to be about filling empty spaces with things. In yoga, we learn that so much weight and magnitude resides within the simplicity of our breath.
Why, then, do we forget this once we step off the mat?
Jay’s The Joy of Less does well to remind us that minimalism isn’t about emptiness or solitude. It’s about taking hold of the junk that crowds us.
Next time you step on your yoga mat to embrace your place in this world, take a moment to consider how the stuff in your life distracts you from your ultimate quest.
Then think about how much of that stuff you can live without. You might be surprised by how little you need to get by.
The minimalist mind
Our surroundings greatly affect how we think. And how we think depends on how much space we have left inside our head. A decluttered mind also lets you have better mental focus. There is no absolute formula on how one can do it best, but for starters, here are a few things you may want to start doing to free up some space in your head.
- Focus on just one task at any given time
- Leave behind anything that’s already in the past
- Get into a regular routine
- Find time to meditate
- Set your priorities straight and start working on them before anything else
- Keep a journal
- Find things to be grateful about
We live in a fast-paced world that often fails to recognize the vast benefits of possessing less material things. The surroundings you interact with play a big role in finding peace within yourself, so consider having a minimalist lifestyle and see how greatly it improves your mind and soul.
Check out The Joy of Less now on Amazon.
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