We all come to yoga for very different reasons. For some, it’s about sculpting a strong and supple body. For many it is for the mental benefits, and for some it may even be for spiritual reasons. When we continue we realise we get a lot more that we bargained for. We come to the mat and meet ourselves.
If we really commit to our practice what can happen (if we allow it) is that we become aware of the layers of habitual patterns we have in our body and mind, what serves us and what may not serve us anymore. Then we have a choice: either continue to be in our habits or choose a different way.
Wait a second… this s**t just got really serious.
But does it have to be?
How to be playful (and have FUN!) in your yoga practice
When I look back on my yoga path, the first few years were definitely very serious. Some teachers would say what we need to be doing and we must do it with focus. Classes could seem very austere to keep that mindful focus. But if we are peeling back layers that we have accrued over the years we have left childhood and come to adulthood what is left but the child?
Have you ever watched the way children play? With carefree abandon and an open heart. They will often be running around with the chests wide for the world to interact with them heart to heart. Then as they get older they meet life and they start to close off, we grow up and learn the habits of being an adult that actually close us off from being our authentic selves.
I see yoga as being a practice to bring us back to our authentic self. When I teach, I actively encourage students to express what ever is coming up for them. This may be a lions breath pose to clear out any energy ready to be released. Sighs, lip fluttering or even making the most random noise that seems to want to come out. New students can find this a bit weird at first, but they soon learn to loosen up and join in the play.
The Secret to Creating a Playful Yoga Practice
I often see students cursing themselves when they fall out of poses or concentrating so much they are screwing up their faces. Lighten up! At the end of the day, if we are in a room together making weird shapes with our bodies and breathing funny. Feel into the joy that moving your body and breathing deeply can bring.
Let go of perfectionism of your practice have acceptance that some days practice is great and others not so but both is fine to experience. Catch yourself being too serious and see the humour in it.
When things are fun, we want to do more of them. If we make our practice a chore its then difficult to continue.
A central theme of yoga is about cultivating balance. In the yoga sutras by Patanjali is says ‘Sthira sukham asanam’. Sthira can be translated to steady, strong, hard, and sukham as joyful, easily or happily. Yes we are in a process that sometimes can be challenging but to balance this with the lightness is to practice and evolve with the least resistance.
Lets not DO yoga. Let’s PLAY yoga!
JOIN OUR 14-DAY “PLAY ON THE MAT” CHALLENGE!
This May it’s time to PLAY in our 14-day “Play on the Mat” challenge!
There will be a mix of playful and fun classes ranging from 10-minutes a day and upwards, all encouraging you to break free from your comfort zone and rediscover your inner child. Step on your mat and let loose!
Ready to join us on the mat?
Try us now to access free yoga classes. Anytime, anywhere.