Once upon a time, we all viewed the world as a friendly, lighthearted, and inviting place. Then, somewhere in the process of becoming an adult seriousness, self-doubt, and fear may have replaced our wonder and fun-loving attitude. While we can still connect with the idea of being playful at times for many of us, playful moments have become more and more fleeting. And, the sense of seriousness we use to succeed at work or school extends to many other areas of our lives, including our yoga mat.
Realign with Your Inner Child
But you can use your mat to realign yourself with the joy and lightness of Sukha (sweetness) and Lila (divine play) and ultimately advance your Asanas (poses). By cultivating Sukha, you can connect with your inner child again, finding more creativity and freedom within your practice. Yoga can be a place to invite more playfulness into your life; reminding us of who we intrinsically are and to let go, just be, and play. When we’re having fun, we’re more willing to take risks, such as kicking up into a handstand or moving into a variation of a pose that we maybe we couldn’t if we were overly focused or monitoring our progress and perfection.
The Subtleties of a Less-Serious Yoga Practice
If you can’t imagine yourself kicking-up into a handstand or waddling around in Garland Pose, there are subtler ways to bring more play and lightness into your practice. You can set an intention at the beginning of class to relax more into your body. This can begin with a simple and natural smile. In Tree pose, for example, try closing your eyes and smiling as you rhythmically sway side-to-side. Try releasing a small bout of laughter when or if you topple over! Sometimes simply smiling when we notice that we’re taking ourselves too seriously or laughing rather than judging when we fall out of a pose can help us let go of some of the limitations we’ve created for ourselves.