In Yoga Journal's new online course, Finding Connection Through Yoga: A Workshop on Our Universal Oneness,Dr. Deepak Chopra and his yoga teacher, Sarah Platt-Finger, will share a seven-week yoga and meditation experience that will help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself and transform your relationship with the universe. Sign up here to learn more!
As part of Yoga Journal's upcoming online course, Finding Connection Through Yoga: A Workshop on Our Universal Oneness, legendary integrative-medicine and meditation expert, Dr. Deepak Chopra and his yoga teacher, Sarah Platt-Finger, will guide you through a yoga practice that incorporates Chopra's Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, to help you experience greater health, joy, and peace in your life. Each day for the next week, Platt-Finger, who teaches at ISHTA Yoga in NYC, will offer you a yoga pose that illustrates one of the seven laws, and explain how it can benefit your practice and your life. Please take #thespirituallawschallenge with us, snap a selfie of yourself in the pose, explain what you learned from the law and the pose, and post it on Instagram @yogajournal and @chopracenter and @splattfinger. Two of our most dedicated and insightful challenge-takers will win the course for free, and also get free tickets to Yoga Journal LIVE! New York!
Spiritual Law 4: The Law of Least Effort
The Law of Least Effort says that we can most easily fulfill our desires when our actions are motivated by love, we expend the least effort, and we offer no resistance. We tap into the infinite organizing power of the universe to do less and accomplish everything.
The Pose: Plank
Of all the yoga postures, Plank is one that seems to require a significant amount of effort, Platt-Finger says. In order to hold ourselves in this position without strain, we must arrange our body intelligently so that we do not overexert ourselves. The Law of Least Effort is about trusting the natural order and intelligence of the world and remembering that we are not always the "do-ers." This applies in all of yoga as well. Notice in Plank if you are trying too hard, straining your breath, and fatiguing your muscles to come into the posture. There is a sense of endurance that is required, but not at the expense of the breath. If you notice that you are unable to sustain the posture, lower your knees to take a more modified approach. Notice how you react to the modified variation and if you tend to take the "no pain, no gain" approach. That approach goes against the Law of Least Effort because nature does not overexert itself.
From Downward-Facing Dog, shift your weight forward so that the wrists line up under the shoulders and the hips line up with the upper body. Firm through the tops of the thighs and lengthen the tailbone back toward the heels as the chest reaches forward toward the wall in front of you. Spread the fingers comfortably wide and press especially into the thumb and forefinger. Draw your outer upper arms down toward the heels. Keep the gaze slightly forward as the heels press back. If your hips or chest start to sink, lower the knees to the floor and maintain that line of energy from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Breathe fully.
Enhance the pose:
Visualize a line of energy, like a laser beam, from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Feel as if you trace electromagnetism along that line from the crown to the base on the inhalation, and distribute it into each cell of your body as you exhale. If you are unable to visualize this, you are trying too hard and working against the Law of Least Effort.