“Life is to be enjoyed, not endured.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley
If you agree with this quote, please keep reading.
Do you notice how much of an effort you make to get to something you really enjoy? Yoga is no different. When we enjoy our time on the mat, we’re motivated to keep coming back. Regularly.
For me, I love nothing more than laughing so if I start to feel a little serious with my practice, I seek out yoga teachers that have me cracking up out loud during a class. I know those classes might not offer me the deepest states of internal connection, but the enjoyment I feel inspires me and balances out the more serious moments on my mat.
If you want to inject a bit of lighthearted fun and enjoyment to your practice, I’ve got 7 simple tips for you.
Yogis are a serious-looking bunch! I didn’t realise this until I started teaching, but ask a class to hold Warrior 2 for a minute or two, and they all look like they’re about to take a driving test or visit the dentist.
Here’s a tip: Next time you have to hold a challenging pose, try the simple act of curling the corners of the mouth up into a smile and I guarantee, you will immediately start to enjoy the experience more.
2. Put on some groovy tunes.
I love devotional yoga music and often have it going in the background, but I admit it does take my practice to a more serious place. That’s beautiful when I’m looking for that, but I like to balance out the more internal and serious practices with a bit of fun too. On those days when I want to feel a bit more playful on the mat, I put on some upbeat groovy tunes and go with the funky flow.
I might not find spiritual enlightenment that day but I’ll be elevated and uplifted nonetheless.
3. Practice with a friend.
If you want to add a spring to your Surya Namaskar, try going to class with a friend or invite them over for an online yoga session. Grab a smoothie or a coffee afterwards and chat about all the things you LOVED about the class.
4. Hold poses that activate the sacral chakra.
The sacral chakra (Swadisthana) is a really important chakra to balance. When the energy there is stifled, negative emotions can set in and our perspective can become very ego-centric.
When we work with poses that activate the sacral chakra, like Cobra (Bhujangasana), Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana), Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana) and Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana), we can transform our energy and perspective into joyful, creative expression and positivity.
5. Give arm balances a go.
Arm balances are a great way of injecting some fun to your practice! Yep, they can be really challenging, but the process of trying them out can be really uplifting and enjoyable, even if you don’t get remotely airborne.
6. Practice heart-opening backbends.
Life can sometimes throw stuff at you and make you feel as if you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, right? When that happens, what usually results is a heavy feeling around the heart space.
The opposite of heavy-hearted is lighthearted, and that transformation is exactly what backbending postures can facilitate. When we bend backwards, that physically creates an expansive sense of openness across the chest. That physical action makes room for light and love at the heart space.
7. Wear some bright colours.
Okay, I know that the colour of my yoga clothes are NOT going to lead me towards Samadhi, but...on those days where I want to use my practice to create a more fun-loving attitude, I throw on a pair of bright coloured yoga pants and they actually really DO make me want to skip to class!
So, have I missed anything? What are some other feel good tips to help bring some more fun and enjoyment to the mat?