By Laura Mills
Last week I attended a parent meeting at my daughter’s preschool, where I discovered that learning is based on play. I love this philosophy, that children don’t require anything elaborate or high-tech to learn new skills and make solid connections in their minds. Plain and simple: children succeed by doing what they do best, by doing what they do naturally.
Since then I’ve reflected on how often I ignore the “plain and simple” in my own life. I over-think, over-plan, over-do, over-analyze…. It’s common among human beings, I think, as we rush around to check off the next item on our to-do lists. But yoga teaches that one of the ways we can evolve into harmony (Niyama) is through the practice of simplicity (Saucha). Not that we can or should ignore our obligations—but rather, I believe, that we shouldn’t underestimate the value of a little space in our to-do lists…that we shouldn’t pass up any opportunities to refine our days with a little plain-and-simple play.
What if we approached more tasks as if they were lessons in preschool? The humdrum, everyday things we do might begin to give off a positive glow; the most complicated tasks might lose their capacity to intimidate. We might find ourselves waking up looking forward to our day and even smiling more throughout. As summer ends and we head into fall, as the days get shorter and the nights get darker, and as life rushes on at its often-exasperating pace, I’m going to try the “preschool philosophy.” Come play with me!