It’s Playtime: Keeping Yoga Joyful
Utterly absorbed in the present moment, consumed with a sense of joy, you feel energized, open, and ready for anything. Sounds like you’re in a profound state of deep meditation, doesn’t it? Or perhaps you’ve fallen in love! Could be either; maybe it’s both. But what I do know is that’s how I feel when I live in a state of play. True play keeps me fully present and open to the mystery of each unfolding moment.
Play is our natural state of being and yet, at the same time, it’s a conscious choice, a path in which we prioritize our happiness and expand our capacity for joy and wonder. Above all, it teaches us not to take ourselves too seriously. As Plato once said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.” The nature of connecting, of listening, and of relating doesn’t need a perfect setting or ideal weather. Simply grab a friend, get outside, and capture a few carefree moments together.
It is about replacing the knowing of the mind with the benevolent curiosity of the heart.
Finding balance with ease and joy, whether in life or in a yoga pose, is a constant state of adjustment and attunement. It is about replacing the knowing of the mind with the benevolent curiosity of the heart. It is about remembering, did I come to yoga to get it right and to be frustrated when I don’t? Or did I come to yoga to feel better, to practice loving myself more, and to enjoy the journey of learning? Additionally, can I use my yoga practice as a microcosm and a playground for understanding and transforming my life experience?
When we choose to look for the positive in each situation, we can replace obstacles with opportunity and mistakes with growth. We can reclaim the childlike wonder and awe of being in a state of constant discovery and absorption in the moment. In this state, the point is to enjoy the journey and have as much fun as possible.
Photo credit: Matthew Juzenas, Pete Markham, Erica Zabowski, Rachel Carter, David Goehring, Omar de Armas, majorvols, leasqueaky, carolinqua, Matthew W. Jackson, jason saul, Ashley Webb, carolinqua, Melissa Wiese.
Jenny Sauer-Klein is an internationally renowned group facilitator and teacher trainer, who specializes in coaching collaborative working relationships and partnerships. She is the cofounder of AcroYoga, a global movement and community-building practice that has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands. To find out more, go to AcroYoga.org.