Saturday, August 27, 2011

Side Crow and Developing a Playful Yoga Practice

I recently discovered the wonder of flying. Side crow is awesome!

A couple weekends ago, some friends and I headed north to Two Rivers, Wisconsin for an end of summer adventure on Lake Michigan. We watched people kayak, sunbathe, and bird watch. I was more interested in testing my own bird-like abilities :)

Don't you love when you get to a place with certain asanas where you can just play? Lately, I've been dedicating my practice to the joy of playing with yoga. What will happen if I kick my leg out? What tension can I let go of? What will happen if I smile now? What will happen if I just laugh and fall out?

Dare to be silly in class. Last night, one of my favorite instructors reminded us to acknowledge the importance of reverence. He prompted us to consider the difference between "precision" and "precision driving for perfection." And he brought up an important point: we never get to a place where we can execute an asana perfectly. That's not the point of yoga. The point is to be fully present for the journey.

Instead of wondering, "Why won't my body do what it could before?" or telling yourself, "I'm not good at this," or celebrate what you can do. 

Arm balances and inversions sometimes feel like the most serious of yoga postures. Once you've mastered handstands and scorpion, you're in the big leagues, right? All focus, determination, no nonsense now.

I say: let that go!

Choose to define yourself by your presence, not your postures.  

Yoga is in the body and the mind. If you can't be lighthearted and free, you're missing all the good stuff.

Our adventure north was all about feeling whimsical: windows down, music blaring, wind whipping the hair. Dancing on the sand. Trespassing to climb around on lighthouses. Dashing into the freezing water with no qualms. And enjoying how refreshing that big body of water is, even when the waves leave you covered in sea moss. :)  

I hope you will join me in pursuing joy, even in the hard postures. As Nick likes to say, "Someone's getting a little levitation practice in!"

And I agree: light body, light heart, light mind. The way to freedom is not in perfect execution of advanced postures; all you have to do is embrace a little levity.


  1. "define yourself by your presence not your postures" -- I think that one is going on my bathroom mirror. Thank you.