The practice of yoga is not about doing more or asserting more effort it is actually an experience where we try to make the smartest least effort or effortless effort. There is this space in a pose where we find that sweet space of “doing nothing.” That is something I know well from my Father who was born in Italy and the Italian people have a deep respect for the philosophy of enjoyment. This is the idea of IL BEL FAI NIENTE which means “the beauty of doing nothing.” Remember this passage from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love “Generally speaking, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one. Americans spend billions to keep themselves amused but that’s not exactly the same thing as quiet enjoyment. Americans work harder and longer and more stressful hours than anyone in the world today.
Of course we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure.) Americans don’t really know how to do nothing. But against the backdrop of hard work, il bel fai niente, has
always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. Anyone with a talent for happiness can do this.”
“My own ambition, my deepest and truest ambition, is to find within myself someday, somehow, the ability to do likewise, to do NOTHING – and find it enough.” Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Another way I personally experience this doing of nothing is going to Moab. Utah. When I am there I understand what Edward Abbey is writing about since that is where he wrote the book Desert Solitaire. There is a quiet in the desert unlike anything I have found elsewhere in the world. And the joy of mountain biking or practicing yoga there feels so in the flow of this effortless effort that you come away from any excursion with more energy and calm. I can’t wait to return April 16-19 to introduce a new tribe to the beauty of Il Bel Fait Niente! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia