All Batman quotes aside, we take ourselves faaaar too seriously sometimes. Especially in Yoga. (But if the Joker had given yoga a go, things might have turned out different for him. Just sayin.)
If you look at images of adults practicing yoga, there’s a significant trend. All those serene and yet serious faces. In perfect looking poses, with clothes that fit just so and nary a wrinkle or catch in them. No skin folds. Often photoshopped into a pristine and sometimes hard to recognize version of themselves. Not a lot of room for playing.
Then have a look at a kid’s class.
It’s silly! Socks everywhere. Giggles and guffaws and games. Posing like trees that wobble and fall, and they’re okay with trying again! When kids make it into Relaxation pose at the end of their class, they still have the tiniest of smiles. They get to play, and then they rest.
You can play in yoga too. Say you lose your balance. Your foot comes down from that challenging balance in Tree Pose. Maybe you flailed a little bit. You can get upset about it, letting your brain berate you for not being better, or stronger, or more…balancey.
Or, how about instead, you have a giggle. Whoops! That was wobbly! Maybe even wave your arms around, like a tree in the wind. Take a breath, and put your foot back up on the leg (maybe with a toe on the floor this time) and get back into it. This time, with a smile.
Because we all fall from time to time. I’ll share my own falling-out-of-pose stories in the classes I teach. Remind me to tell you about the time I fell on my butt and bounced. In a full class. When I got around to laughing about it, it really wasn’t that bad.
If we were supposed to be serious in yoga all the time, there wouldn’t be a Lion’s Pose.
Really! That’s yoga! It helps release oodles of tension, especially in the face and neck.
Yoga can be deeply playful. An experiment in joy. I’ve been known to take myself waaaaay too seriously, and then sometimes not seriously enough. My own personal Yoga is about finding balance between the two.
Yoga means union, after all.
I invite you to join me. Stop worrying about whether or not your balance stinks, you’ll look bad, or that you’ll do something wrong. Be willing to giggle a little (or a lot), and take yourself less seriously.
I look forward to laughing with you!
ps. This is the final post in a series on yoga misconceptions. If you haven’t seen the others, head over to parts 1 2 3 and 4! And a ways back, I did a post about yoga for larger bodies. You can revisit that here.