Smiles, Humor and Yoga

Yoga class can be a time to work the body so you can relax the mind. We set intentions for our practice. We move to the teacher's words of direction and try to remember to breathe. Some teachers call the poses by their Sanskrit names, some use the translation name, and some do a blend of both. Some use music, some don't. Some are avidly devoted to the style they learned and some like a fusion of styles. Bottom line is this: as long as the students are benefiting from what or how you teach, the rest is technicalities.

But...there is one thing we should not forget. Never lose your sense of humor....especially in yoga. After all, the ultimate intention of yoga is to unite the mind, body and spirit. You have to be relaxed to enable  things to blend together. There is something energetically relaxing and recharging when you can smile and maybe laugh during a practice. I know...because I decided to give my class an extra good dose of fun in our most recent practice.

Intention set: Smile when you hear that song that resonates with you. Let the smile's energy radiate in your moves. No more, no less.

Music: Fun...a blend of great artists ranging from Leonard Cohen, the Bee Gees, Michael Franti and some classic R&B and other styles of music mixed in between. There is magic in music. The right sound can get you in a zone that nothing else can. There is a reason there are so many people with a musical gift. It is an expression of inner creativity that has to be expressed. It can create a meditative practice that sheer silence does not. Perhaps when I reach enlightenment, my opinion will change...but, I have a feeling that will take some time because I really love the energy of music. After all, it is an expression of Love.

Guiding: Have fun with the moves. Respect and feel what the body is saying is right and what is not right for you now. Enjoy the move or pose. REALLY feel what is going on within the body each moment. Staying in tune with the physical nuances of the practice keeps the mind surreptitiously focused. If it drifts to enjoy the vibes of a great song...so be it. No need to be so serious. Who said being spiritual meant having to be as serious as we are about all the craziness that seems to surround us? Who determined that consciously communicating with the Higher Power has to be done in a somber mode? After all, we aren't the original creators of smiles, humor and yoga. We are simply expressions of the Source. And, variety is an apparent preference...just take a look around.

It really is all about balance....everything. There are times when we need a "serious" practice to get focus. Then, there are times when we just need to lighten our mental loads and have fun. Yoga is not about learning a foreign language, the history of it (unless you desire) or precision. If we don't watch ourselves, we can inadvertently turn what is a practice into a chore to mark off the check list. That would be sad....because the heart of it would be forgotten. Don't get caught up in the concepts of what is important to others. Staying true to yourself will manifest the practice you seek.

So, I say...smile on and off your mat. Let the energy of music move you on and off your mat. Remember (or, learn) how to laugh at yourself when you do less than your perception of acceptable. Don't be afraid to be yourself....you're the you we've been blessed to be given. You are a shining star that was created for certain eyes to see or hear. Follow your own star; otherwise, you will be searching too far.

"Shine on a stranger with no dream"...practice and "walk in a field of gold"...and just smile. The details will become apparent when you open yourself up a bit more each time. If you can smile or feel a bit lighter after your practice, something right happened for you. It is that simple.
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