Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: 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.

Plank Pose: Law of Least Effort

Of all the yoga postures, plank pose is one that seems to require a significant amount of effort. 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 pose 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 over-effort. In the same way, we should not over-effort in our yoga postures.

How To:

From Downward Facing dog, shift your weight forward so that the wrists line under the shoulders and the hips line up with the upper body. Firm through the tops of the thighs and lengthen the tailbone back towards the heels as the chest reaches forward towards 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 towards 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.

Added Value:

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 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.

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