Get ready to feel like a kid again, for it's time to dig deep, take a leap and create some space for play in your already busy day! Take a walk on the wild side and let out a lions roar! Open up your wing span and let out a sigh. This is the practice of flying into grace and waking up with enthusiasm in your steps toward a healthier you.
Today, we open up the hips and hamstrings, two of the tightest areas in most adults, yet our nature is to be just the opposite in pre-adolescence (open and free). Do you remember the days when you would play tirelessly on the playground? Do you remember how the playfulness you brought to movement wasn't something you had to learn, but was your nature? When we see the obstacle inside of a pose (mentally, physically, emotionally) as a means for invoking and expressing playfulness, we can then use the tools of imagery to leap over a challenge. Yoga is the practice and art of playful surrender. Sometimes we may experience discomfort or fall out of a posture; the perfect opportunity to practice a light hearted attitude of non-attachment. Sometimes, we must take a few steps backward in order to take a giant leap forward. When we practice with a sense of playfulness, we begin to let our guard down and the pressure to perform at a certain level begins to fall away. Dropping the ego or the part of oneself that identifies with the posture as a bench mark for "success" is the key to the door to a playful and savory practice, regardless of whether you can touch your toes or stand on your head. Your yoga practice is the art of expanding beyond the form and into the formless, thus opening the pathways in the body where stress resides and allowing the breath to provide the clearing for deeper and more subtle changes to occur each time.
Yoga is a practice that teaches one to explore movement, while trusting ones natural rhythm, pace, and flexibility. Hmmm, isn't that what children do on the playground? Haven't we been teaching the age old wisdom all along: "take a leap without worry," "share," "play nicely," "when you fall, slow down make sure everything is still intact, dust yourself off and if you’re not bleeding, get back out there!" Whether you are a kid or not, if you can imagine a world of monkey bars, sandboxes, and endless swings, then you have painted a clearer picture of what your yoga practice has the potential to feel like. If you never enjoyed the years of childhood enough to be a kid, well, it's never too late, and today is the first day of the rest of your life! When you approach your practice with with a playful or childlike essence, you cannot help but begin to take that attitude and intention into your day.