May - Lightening Up!
Last month we looked at changing our perspective and how simple small practices such as gratitude can help change the way you see the world.
This month I’m feeling inspired by my recent training with ex monk/rocker/tv host and all round cool dude yogi Steve Ross. Steve writes in his book Happy Yoga;
“Yoga isn’t rocket science. The only beguiling thing about it is its simplicity. It can and should be celebrated; it doesn’t have to be a serious, militant painfest. Real yoga is about transcending the serious and allowing joy into your life, your body, your mind, and hopefully your practice itself. It’s about lightening up.”
When I first read this, it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I’d been so caught up in ‘getting better’ at yoga that I forgot how much fun it was and how much I actually enjoyed it – the reason I fell in love with the practice in the first place!
So for the next month or so, we’ll be focusing our yoga on the idea of Lightening Up. And by yoga, we are certainly including our time on the mat – our practice itself. But yoga is so much more than this. Yoga is a way of life and has a purpose beyond making shapes on a piece of rubber. Let me allow Steve to step in once again;
“The true aim of yoga is not to produce a perfect butt (even though that might be a byproduct), give you amazing gymnastic ability, not provide a place to meet cute people in tight clothes whom you might want to date. The aim of yoga is not fanatical attention to the body, the aim is to pierce the mystery of what’s beyond the body.”
Real yoga is practicing the art of accessing our true selves, on and off the mat. Real yoga is about how you feel and how you respond to life. So this month, we are bringing our attention and intention to lightening up our yoga during class and exploring how we can lighten up and bring a sense of joy and happiness to our lives as a whole.
See if you can sit this month in your true essence and see your life as a playground for joy and adventure. Are there places you can take some of the seriousness out and allow yourself to lighten up? Can you do this despite the serious things that may be present in your life – finances, kids, education, jobs?
If you can start to see the joy in your world, your world will become more and more joyful. The sad truth is that worrying about the future and getting caught in stress will only attract more stressful stuff for you to worry about. Begin to divert your energy to cultivating feelings of gratitude and joy, and watch your world begin to shape itself to fit your energy.
How? Get on your mat, practice. Have some fun when you move. Meditation is also an invaluable tool, as just like our breath, it connects us back to our core. Gratitude and doing things you love will help. Simply begin to be aware of how you are perceiving your world and seek out places you can smile and relax a little.
Buddha said, “there is no way to happiness – happiness is the way”. So let’s lighten up this month, have some fun on the mat and find all the juicy things in our lives we can be happy about now!