July 9 | The Practice |
Life is more fun when you are having fun! Your mind is more open, you are more apt to try something new or different if you are happy – when you’re experiencing joy. There is more mobility and fluidness in your body when you are laughing. When you are having a good time doing something, you are also 10 time more motivated to come back to the mat. Fun brings happiness and happiness begets motivation, motivation brings consistency and consistency brings change and improvement.
Let’s face it, we have enough intensity and seriousness in our daily lives, our time on the mat should be playful and light hearted. Being curious and keeping your mind open is the way that you can surprise yourself. It’s natural to get ambitious and serious about things that you want to excel at, and this drive is important but you should try to approach the challenging aspects of your practice with a sense of playfulness.
Play brings a softness to the practice. We want to walk a middle path between play and seriousness, if we start with that mindset, it translate into the body.
If you are too rigid in your thoughts, you can immediately see that tension in the body. You start to clench your jaw, which radiates into the hips and all the sudden everything feel tighter and stiffer. By letting go, you allow the breath to move throughout the body and the mind can quiet.
Yogis are a serious-looking bunch! Look around the room, most yogis all look like they’re about to take the SAT’s or about to get a root canal.
Next time you have to hold a challenging pose, try the simple act of curling the corners of the mouth up into a smile and I guarantee, you will immediately start to enjoy the experience more. Better yet, catch someone’s eye in class and smile – you can help them get happy too.
When I am feeling a little low on the days that I am heading to class, I always pump the tunes in the car or on my walk to the studio. It always shifts my mood and I tend to walk into class more elevated and uplifted nonetheless.
Getting on the mat next to a good friend who also loves yoga as much as me always shifts my time on the mat. We get to groove to together, and you can laugh at each other and keep it fun when someone topples over. It always changes the mood for me in class.
One legged balancing poses and arm balances are a fantastic way of bring some joy to your practice! They can be really challenging, but the process of giving them a shot can be really uplifting and enjoyable, even if you don’t get remotely airborne. Just don’t get discouraged- use the beginner’s mind and explore, have fun and if you fall over- laugh it off.
When life gets heavy, our hearts feel it. The term “heavy heart” is a true one when we are worried. The opposite of heavy-hearted is lighthearted, and that transformation is exactly what backbending postures can facilitate. When we bend backwards, it asks the chest and the heart to open out and expand. Backbends also massage the adrenal glands on the back- the combo is a instant natural mood elevator.
Bright colors have an instant effect on the mind, so if you are feeling down and unmotivated, go for that bright top and pants for class versus the usual black pants. Dressing the part will help bring happiness from the outside in.
(Photos Courtesy of Nick Borrelli: @ambassador_of_stoke)