Discover The Joy of Simplicity | Why Less is More
Breathe and Flow Newsletter | Issue 008
Dear fellow meaning-seeker,
We hope this letter finds you well, feeling grounded, and inspired.
It’s been a busy time lately at Breathe and Flow HQ and we have lots of exciting updates and announcements to share over the coming months. We hosted our annual BnF team offsite here in Vegas last week to gather everyone together for some solid co-working sessions, strategy and analytics, future project plans, filming, nature hikes, yoga, and more. Since we’re a fully global team, it was an amazing week to gather as a community. We share a mission to provide people the tools to foster their growth and live the happiest and healthiest life they can through the teachings of yoga. We’re now all settled back into our homes around the globe and feeling very inspired to put these dreams into action 🚀❤️
Our Breathe and Flow mission energizes us and brings us so much joy. Part of the commitment to our passion means dedicating time to multiple projects and of course to our family, which can be a juggle at times. So, we totally understand that it’s easy to get a little overwhelmed with many schedules, tasks, projects, and things to research, buy and organize! It’s always good to stop, take a step back and simplify things by shedding the ‘stuff’ which is no longer serving you. Today we’re going to delve into ways that living a little lighter can free you up to focus on what really matters. We have some resources to get you inspired as well as some insights into why people who live with a more minimalist approach to life are often happier.
As you guys may know, we have always been interested in the concept of Minimalism - so much so that we sold 90% of our possessions and lived in an RV for a year and even took it a step farther and lived out of our backpacks for two years! However, minimalism is more than just about getting rid of things. It is a mindset and a way of life that encourages us to live with intention and purpose; trying not get swept up in the ‘must have’ societal, consumerist pressures. Making mindful choices helps us to truly appreciate the things which bring us joy and meaning, helping to cultivate a happier life. 😊
Research has shown that minimalism or ‘voluntary simplicity’ in our lives can reduce stress, enhance focus, and improve overall happiness by focusing more on our psychological growth. It includes re-evaluating our possessions, relationships, commitments, emotional attachments, work and even digital presence in order to live a more fulfilled life.
Consider the question below…we encourage you to think outside the box here - these can be physical items, feelings, activities, habits or even tasks which are currently part of your life.
If you could keep just 3 ‘things’ from your life and throw 5 ‘things’ away, what would they be?
So, what came up for you? Reducing your social media consumption? Letting go of ‘imposter syndrome’ at work? Adding in more time with your friends or family or for travel and adventure? Giving up junk food? Getting rid of the items you’re hanging on to which are for hobbies you no longer enjoy? Or even including more study or learning into your days?
How much more fulfilled would you feel if you prioritized/valued the 3 things you chose to keep and how much lighter and more present might you feel if you ‘threw away’ at least some of those 5 things you named?
Reflecting on this can be a great opportunity to identify the things which distract you from what is important, in order to start to edit them out. Starting the day with a meditation to connect with yourself and who you are is a great way to establish an honest intention for the changes you want to make. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What brings you joy?
Once you set an intention from an honest start point of knowing who you are, then it is with integrity and discipline that you can apply this to your day to day life and change the way you live, one action at a time.
For a thought-provoking perspective on minimalism, check out the works of Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, known as "The Minimalists." Their books, podcasts, and documentary offer valuable insights and guidance on living a more intentional and fulfilling life with less and their free downloadable book called The Minimalists Rulebook outlines the ‘16 Rules for Living with Less’. These guys tackle everything from financial clutter to emotional baggage and always have a fresh perspective on how to approach minimalism in a practical way.
Beyond de-cluttering our physical spaces; a minimalist perspective also encompasses our mental and emotional realms. By consciously choosing to let go of negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and toxic relationships, we free ourselves from unnecessary burdens and create room for growth, self-discovery, and deeper connections. Daniel G. Amen’s book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life reminds us that we are all capable of changing the way we think and can absolutely make the changes we need.
For you right now, minimalism may look like deleting ‘friends’ or unfollowing accounts from your Instagram, or clearing an old email account inbox. Or maybe you are going to sort through your wardrobe and donate some things to a local charity. You may even be ready to tackle the ‘mental clutter’ which is weighing you down. It is amazing how putting in place simple daily routines relating to your morning habits or sleep hygiene can give you a healthy framework and mental space from which you can then start to dig into the deep stuff.
The Greg McKeown ‘Essentialism’ book listed above explores the power of essentialism and how it aligns with the principles of minimalism. Essentialism is about deliberately choosing a few vital things and eliminating everything else, encouraging individuals to concentrate their time and energy on the core areas which are most important in their life.
Embracing essentialism and minimalism as part of your yoga lifestyle, allows you to cultivate a disciplined mindset so you can discern what truly matters on and off the mat: prioritize your well-being, set clear intentions for your practice, and let go of distractions and non-essential activities. You'll discover that this approach empowers you to focus on fewer tasks, enabling you to excel in them. We often find that this is where the true sense of fulfillment and joy lies!
Bringing this concept to your daily yoga practice empowers you to connect deeply with your body, mind and spirit, leading to a more profound and fulfilling yoga experience. In fact, Aparigraha, one of yoga's eight limbs, embodies non-possession. It teaches that true freedom comes from releasing attachment to possessions, beliefs, and relationships. Similar to minimalism, it's about letting go of what no longer serves you to create more space for what you love. Another key principles of yoga is Vairagya, non-attachment, where you are encouraged to let go of attachments to material possessions, desires, and outcomes. Lastly, Santosha which means contentment, is one of the Niyamas (ethical guidelines) in yoga philosophy. Practicing contentment means being satisfied with what you have and not constantly desiring and seeking more. By simplifying our lives, we have more time, energy, and resources to invest in activities that nourish our souls and create lasting memories. Ultimately, that creates a greater appreciation for the simplicity and contentment that can be found in the present moment. 💜
For a spiritual perspective, we also love the work of fellow yogi, meditation teacher and inspirational speaker, Light Watkins. Light, who is also known for living out of a small carry-on backpack, credits his minimalist ‘travel lightly’ approach to his meditation practice; being present and practicing gratitude every day.
His book Travel Light explores a way to live your life by doing more with less and to mindfully let go of past experiences and emotional and spiritual baggage, as well as the physical baggage. His approach is never about the expectation of an outcome, but about rooting in gratitude and making important decisions from the heart. This sounds simple but actually allowing the journey to be the experience and goal rather than focusing on an ‘end point’ takes some work and a commitment to honoring the process every step without judgement.
So in a nutshell, minimalism can guide us towards:
Purposeful living: Intentionally focusing on what truly adds value to your life while letting go of excess clutter, possessions, and distractions.
Mindful consumption: Applying careful consideration to physical possessions, digital content, and experiences.
Decluttering and simplifying: Creating a more organized, stress-free environment.
Connection over possessions: Shifting your perspective to prioritze human connection and meaningful relationships and towards valuing personal growth and time instead of material accumulation.
Letting go of comparison: Focusing on your own values, aspirations, and journey.
Environmental awareness: Reducing overconsumption and waste, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle. The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy!
If you want a mini assignment just to get started on more intentional, mindful life but aren’t quite ready to clear the loft space or commit to a mass removal of ‘friends’ on Facebook yet, check out our mindfulness program called Aware. We designed this free 30 day program to elevate your life to the next level through daily mindfulness practices that will take your practice off the mat and onto a new level of living life to its fullest! Enjoy and stay mindful ❤️
Or one day.
Never forget - the most important thing for humans and this planet to have is love - which we have in bucketloads and never apply a minimalist attitude towards! ❤️
As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas for future editions. Let's continue to build this community together, one intentional step at a time.
☕️ Morning Coffee Positive Press
We love this insight from Graham Hill and his three rules for trimming down our excess, including the advice that ‘small is sexy’ and to ‘edit ruthlessly.’
Linking to our minimalist-themed TED talk today we also have another great reason why reducing the amount of things in your life is a double win…by passing on your belongings to someone who needs them, you become a valuable contributor in the mission to reduce waste, conserve resources, and minimize emissions. (You You also get the warm glow of knowing you’ve done something good!) Read more about the Environmental Benefits Of Donating Your Things.