Friday, March 31, 2017

Partial Book Report / Cultivating Play

Have you ever read a book that strikes such a chord with you that you almost don't want to read it because it's overwhelming?

Last month, my book club and I selected Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection after one of our members said she was rereading it.  Coincidentally, my sister happened to be reading that when she came up for her visit last month, so I was excited to get into it, especially after seeing Brene Brown's TED talks.

It's so dense with nuggets of great information and moments of, "Yes, that's so me," that I was very particular about when I read it.  And even as I was reading it, I'd know I would need to reread it several times for it all to sink in.  So, I'm not up to writing a full entry about it because it encompasses a lot - but one element of it has been popping up a lot this last week.

The book is divided up into ten Guideposts - things we ought to work on cultivating, and things we ought to work on letting go.  Easier said that done - another reason why this book overwhelms!

Guidepost # 7 is Cultivating Play & Rest - Letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol (hello, NYC) and productivity as self-worth (ME).

Now, the letting go stuff is a waaaaay longer post / therapy session, but cultivating play and rest is really important to me.  I feel incredibly blessed that I work at a place which, though it can be stressful and demanding like any job, is devoted to play.  Even beyond playing yoga with the little yogis who come to our classes, the other teachers and I are constantly playing to find new poses, new games, new events, and new ways to connect to our community and each other.  Just this week I had the opportunity to spontaneously turn into a mermaid as the class that Laura was teaching went on their under the sea yoga adventure!

We talk a lot at Karma Kids Yoga, especially when we're talking about bigger kids and teens, about what a huge stress reliever laughter is.  When was the last time you were in a fit of hysterical laughter?  Like belly cramping, face hurting, genuine-danger-of-peeing-your-pants laughter?

Believe it or not, there is such a thing as a laughter meditation.  We share it with the trainees in our Teen Yoga Teacher Training Intensive and it's always the most incredible release.  Yoga doesn't always have to be so holy and serious and all about flexibility or silence - you can play it!

Especially with the news moving at a speed impossible to keep up with, we need the balance of play and laughter in our lives more than ever.  So find a toddler to run around with, grab some friends willing to be ridiculous with you and try a laughter meditation, watch something silly (maybe even live theatre!).  It's hands down the most fun way to beat stress and anxiety while cultivating the joy of play.

Me with the creator of Karma Kids Yoga and all the fun and games I get to enjoy every day, Shari Vilchez-Blatt.
There was much laughter and play as we figured out how to get in to this awesome new partner pose.



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