Yoga and the Law of Least Effort

“Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” ~ Indra Devi

The ancient system of yoga is widely known in the West as a series of postures that develop strength, balance, and flexibility. Yoga offers numerous physical benefits, yet it is much more than a useful exercise for the body: Like meditation, it is a practice for connecting to our essential spiritual nature and expanded states of consciousness. Yoga is designed to give us an experience of our true self by taking us from deep silence into dynamic action and back again to profound stillness.

The Chopra Center developed the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga program based on the core principle that consciousness is the primary force in the universe. Our yoga program interweaves the Seven Spiritual Laws, which are the laws of consciousness applied to the human experience. We have found deep value in applying the spiritual laws to yoga because the principles that underlie yoga support a life of balance, happiness, and flexibility. You can read about each of the Spiritual Laws here.

Mantras and the Seven Spiritual Laws

Each of the Seven Spiritual Laws is associated with a specific mantra whose vibration resonates with the core principle. We suggest that you spend a few minutes reviewing the law of the day each morning when you awaken, and again in the evening before going to bed. During the day, bring the corresponding mantra into your awareness so that the energy of the law resonates within you.

For example, today is Wednesday and the Spiritual Law of the day is the Law of Least Effort. This law states that nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease. There is rhythm and balance in the natural world, and when we are in harmony with nature, we can make use of the Law of Least effort by minimizing our effort and maximizing our effect. We let go of the need to struggle and accept the present moment as it is, putting us in the best position to influence the flow life in the most evolutionary direction.

The mantra that corresponds to the Law of Least Effort is Om Daksham Namah ―

My actions achieve maximal benefit with minimal effort.

The Law of Least Effort is of immeasurable value during the practice of yoga. Yoga is the antidote to the prescription, “No pain, no gain.” The greatest benefits of yoga come from relaxing into a pose rather than forcing your body into it. When moving into a flexibility pose, find the point of resistance. Rather than muscling your way through this point, breathe. Surrender into the resistance. You will find yourself extending your reach and enhancing your flexibility.

Whenever you find yourself forcing an outcome that is not ready to manifest, remember the Law of Least Effort. Introduce the mantra that resonates with the principle that you can accomplish more by doing less if you are not wasting energy through struggle and strain.

Stay present with your full awareness in your body as you engage an attitude of surrender. As in life, patience is a virtue. In yoga, the more you are able to embrace, rather than fight your limitations and vulnerabilities, the less limits they hold and the more balance and energy you experience.