Description of Guided Practice:
The premise of this short guided movement/breathing practice is to enjoy the feeling of free fall through suspension and release of your breath and body. Within the practice, we pair a simple breathing technique with movement to inspire a feeling of levity and joy. It is a wonderful way to greet the morning.
Find a space where there is room to stand, to extend your arms fully over your head, and for your arms to swing before you. The practice concludes with the poem "Why I Wake Early" by Mary Oliver.
Last week, I went to my first yoga-fusion body flow class - it was at a gym in an office park and the instructor wore a microphone and played pop tunes while we all moved together. It was exactly the type of experience I had neglected over the past several years somehow deciding that walking outdoors and practicing yoga in a studio were all I needed. Treadmills were whirring in the background and people were walking into the class 15 minutes late. And despite feeling a little disoriented, I found myself really getting into the movement. I found it… FUN.
There’s evidence now about rising levels of the hormone serotonin associated with longer daylight hours, which makes us feel a "spring fever." It is the feeling of wanting to blow off EVERYTHING we have built into a stabilizing routine. Questioning what we have prioritized in our life. Yearning to do something different. Maybe this was why I said “Heck yeah!” when my neighbor invited me to go to the class. Maybe that’s why I started questioning my relationship with yoga and meditation.
I find practicing yoga and meditation to be therapeutic, calming and fortifying. But, I couldn’t describe my current relationship with these practices as “new” or “fun.” And I have been missing FUN this winter. When I look more closely into past "fun" experiences, they are often moments where I have felt a little off-center.
So, this week, I’ve been sitting with that. I’ve always turned to my practice to feed, balance, and center me - what would it look like to turn to it for fun? Are there places for more fun in a spiritually-based discipline? And if so, where? How?
On the car ride home from class, my neighbor asked me, “What is the last new thing that you’ve tried?” Hmmmm. New, new, new…. Hmmmm. I literally got stuck in a mind loop. I visualized my daily routine built around enjoying my husband, home, family and dog, saving money, studying for grad school this fall, and doing my yoga and meditation. I could not come up with an answer in that moment. Can you? What is the last new thing you've tried?
This month, I’ve recorded a short breathing/movement practice that is a variation on the Breath of Joy. I’ve been known to incorporate this very movement in yoga classes after tough balancing poses where people end up scowling or silently berating themselves for their imperfect efforts. It never fails to erase the scowls and lighten the tension in the room. I find it very fun to practice.
Here’s to spring fever and to investigating our relationships with having fun and trying something new.
Play Guided Audio Practice
Hannah has been a student of yoga and meditation since 2003 and a practitioner of Ayurveda since 2013. She spent a decade teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings throughout the metro-DC area. In August of 2019, she left full-time teaching to pursue a two-year Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She intends to combine yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda into speech therapy sessions with those struggling to share their voices. While she does not currently teach regular classes, you can study with her online through Insight Timer.