Living Your Yoga: Beyond the Mat: “Have Fun with It”

wild thing2Recently, I’ve talked with three different sets of parents who say their kids are doing yoga at their daycare/school. My two year old niece shows off all the poses she has learned so far, down dog, up dog, plank, cat/cow, etc. . I think that’s awesome. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during one of those yoga classes! I imagine it would be hilarious! Yoga really is a kid’s kind of exercise. Their little bodies are all still so limber and willing. Rolling around on the floor is a great way to cut loose in the middle of the day. When I look around my Sunday class five minutes before start time, bodies sprawled on the floor in all manner of shapes and forms, I wonder has anything really changed?

Sometimes, during a yoga class for adults, when you’re huffin’ and puffin’ and barely keeping up, it can be easy to take things too seriously. We’re pushing ourselves hard, building strength and stretching our boundaries. Sometimes we’re dealing with sore muscles and bruised egos as we come to terms with our perceived physical limitations – the ones we didn’t have as a kid. But getting uptight about the way things are only makes it more difficult to find the space and lightness to let go, and accept where we are in our practice. Often, it even prevents us from making progress where we can.

My yoga instructor loves to throw “Wild Thing” into the middle of our flow. Maybe she can tell when the room’s serious meter reaches a peak and she invites us to flip over from side plank to Wild Thing. Once there, she reminds us to smile and to open our hearts to the World like we did when we were young and knew less, had fewer fears.

So today, as we come to our practice, let’s pretend we’re five again, and because it is 3 pm on a Wednesday afternoon, we GET to do yoga. We GET to roll out our mats and with friends nearby, and challenge our bodies to a duel. That way, when things are harder than we expected, or don’t go as planned, when we lose our balance, or even fall, we can find the heart to jump back up, eager to try again.

Throwing Wild Thing into the mix is a great practice in everyday life as well. next time you’re feeling all serious over something, try to put it into perspective, where do your concerns fit into the larger picture of your life? As a kid, would you have cared about it? It’s great that our instructors remind us often, to smile, to take it easy on ourselves, to have fun with it. Getting good at life, or at yoga means learning balance; walking that fine line between taking things seriously and having fun with it.

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