In this post I’d like to talk about a very important, but sometimes neglected principle of Yoga and Martial Arts: stillness and effortlessness.
A famous quote from Bruce Lee:” Seek motion in stillness and stillness in motion”
Is it possible to move without effort? To sit still without effort? Can you breath effortless? Can you use your mind effortless?
Let’s start with the body. When the body is positioned in the centre, when the spine is straight and in between front, back, left and right, then a minimum of effort is required from the muscles and tendons. Imagine balancing a stick directly in the centre: eventually you will find a position where it is completely balanced and still. If you root the stick in the earth, balance is even easier to find.
So, straightening the spine and aligning all joints and bones creates an effortless state for the physical body. In yoga you try to find this effortlessness in every asana, in every movement. In martial arts, specifically in the old samurai and ninja schools from 1400-1600 it is also of the utmost importance to create this feeling. Wearing a heavy armor, fighting for long hours under harsh conditions, finding this effortless state could mean the difference with surviving, or ending up on the losing side.
In yoga, the ability to create effortlessness and stillness in the body seems far more important then flexibility. Interesting, no? The measurement to test a yogi/yogini would be how long he/she is able to stand/balance/sit in complete stillness and effortlessness.