When is the last time you danced in public? Risked telling a joke when people might not laugh? Worn something that is more retro than cool just because you loved the pattern?
When is the last time you felt silly?
Grown-ups don’t give themselves the opportunity to be silly enough. We have all had experiences that have taught us to feel embarrassed and have taught us to feel shame. We survived the awkward years of middle school and the first loves of high school. We have made mistakes both financially and in relationships. As we stumbled from childhood to adulthood, our ability to tap into our silliness began to wane. Our light became dimmer… an ember. We began to look around and compare ourselves to others and we began to worry about what they think about us. “Do they think I look stupid in this shirt?” or “Does my dancing make me look like an idiot?”...our brains became full of all these negative beliefs about ourselves after years of being put down and judged by others and worse...ourselves. We began to see ourselves through a fog of false perception, and we forgot who we really are.
And then we find Yoga.
I have been blessed enough to teach yoga to children, teens, and adults. Children love to be silly. They fall and laugh at themselves, they want to make animal noises in downdog and cat pose, and making goofy faces throughout class is the norm. Teens are more worried about what they look like so, at first, they sit back and watch. They watch me teach, but mostly they watch each other, waiting to be laughed at by the person next to them. Then something magical happens. As they move through the class they forget to be cool and in doing so they can relax and have fun!
The magic of yoga can be found in adult classes. The joy of yoga is there. I’ve seen grown-ups let their guard down. They smile when they stumble and then get back up again. Sometimes, I can see their eyes looking around the room, waiting to meet the gaze of another student looking back at them. As the class goes on though, students begin to bring their focus inward. And what is deep within us? That ember of silliness and our true selves. Speaking from my experience, my personal Yoga practice has fed that ember and I can feel myself glow.
So find your Yoga and find a way to light that fire of silliness, goofiness, and joy. Dance, sing, wear that shirt, and love yourself with wild and reckless abandon. And encourage the children and young adults in your life to do the same by your example.