Play with your yoga

I was hanging out with a friend today. She is getting ready to take a teacher training course and is a bit nervous about if she is strong enough. I pointed out to her how yoga teacher trainings are just like yoga classes, everyone is at a different level on each asana (posture). We tell everyone that this is not a competition, to move at your own pace. The same holds true in a teacher training class.

Would it help to be in great shape before you went? Of corse, it always helps to be in great shape.

Many people take yoga teacher trainings just to make their own practice stronger, to get in a rhythm with doing yoga every day, to become more disciplined, or/and to improve their health.

Someone that is a yoga instructor replied to my friends comment about not being strong enough. She said she had a strong yoga routine before she took the teacher training. She said to me, “Well you probably did too.” My reply was, “I didn’t. I went to the ashram a week early just to give my body time to warm up to the rigor of two times a day yoga. Even now I do not do a full yoga routine on a regular basis. I incorporate yoga into my life daily, a few stretches here a couple asanas there. Before I go to bed I lay on my yoga ball and do a five minute routine. My goal is to do a full routine at least three times a week but I have found it does not always happen the way I want.”

Later that day my friend, who also has been to my last three yoga classes, said how much she likes the class. “It’s fun and I like the time you allow for being quiet, you don’t talk all the time. I also liked what you said about how there is room for all skill levels to take the teacher training.”

She went on to point out what I felt was a good analogy. Here it is rewritten from her words to my take on it.

Ever notice how people caught up in a busy corporate life try to get away from that lifestyle so they switch it up dramatically by taking a yoga teacher training course. They start up their classes and run the classes just like they are still running their corporate world. They make sure they have the proper yoga attire.  Their classes are very ridged, very controlled, for example they might make sure they teach everyone how to be in perfect alignment. They come from the corporate world, take a yoga teacher training and turn their yoga practice into the same ridged corporate world they ran from. They forget to lighten up, play, have fun.

I hope I don’t offend anyone. I am not saying anything is wrong with this. In fact there is a place in the yoga world for all types of teachers and classes. Someone might come into a more playful yoga and there mind just can’t wrap around it. They need the discipline offered in this style class. That’s what is so great about a teacher putting her heart and soul into her classes, we get to play for an hour or two in their yoga world.

Here’s how I describe a moment of fun in a yoga class: While doing  sun salutations, we call the sun into our hands and send the energy down to our feet. Then we spread the suns warm energy across our mats when we go into plank. When we touch our knees, chest and chin on mat with our bottoms in the air, we rock our pelvis from right to left in a playful way, really stretching our lower spine. I like to use the masculine energy to go into an asana. Once in place I like to move the body a bit further by using the feminine energy to wiggle gently, stretching in places you don’t normally reach by just holding the asana. It feels playful.

“I want to dance like a river, move like the wind, play like a child, breath like I just got a massage.”

Yoga is all this and more.



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