March 5, 2012

Yogis Should Laugh More.

Yoga has totally been getting the shaft lately.

Between sex scandals and wrecking bodies, yoga can’t seem to catch a break. Poor yoga has been bullied by the mainstream and it’s time for her to stand up for herself, look her bullies in the eyes and laugh. Yes, laugh.

The serious implications of these latest dramas have sent waves of outrage and concern through the yoga community, leaving in their wake, a slew of yogis ready to defend yoga’s good honor. But we don’t need to defend anything. There is no need to waste our precious breath on naysayers or ne’er do wells.

Instead, we should take a lesson from the kids in our lives, and work this out through yogic play. After all, kids learn how problem solve, communicate, cooperate, and connect through play. Perhaps it’s time we had a refresher course!

Here are some ideas for folks (of all ages) interested in bringing play back into their practice:

1. The Cat Walk: Line several mats up, creating a “mat” walk. One by one, students will strut their stuff down the “mat” walk, striking a yoga pose at the end. Fun music and dramatic hip swaying is a must
2. Freeze Dance: Everyone loves freeze dance! When the music stops, the teacher calls out a pose to strike!
3. Whatever Happened to Warriors 4 through 10? Have your students set mats up in a circle (think sun rays), and then beginning with Warriors 1, 2, and 3, have students (one at a time) make up warriors 4-10 (or however many people in class). After each new warrior is created, start back at Warrior 1 and have the whole group repeat the series together until you’ve added all the new warriors.
4. Super Cool Standing Yoga Series: One person in the circle begins with a pose and everyone in the circle copies it one at a time (think of doing The Wave). This pose must be held until the next pose comes to you. After everyone is gone, can you link the all the poses together to make one smooth vinyasa flow?
5. Spice up your balancing poses. Have students work in pairs, with one person striking a pose (think tree or eagle or whatever!) and the other trying to balance as many blocks on them as possible!

Laughter may, indeed, be the best medicine.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

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laurie Mar 6, 2012 4:02pm

thank you so much!

yogaboca Mar 5, 2012 7:26pm

Bravo! Very refreshing post! 🙂

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Laurie Jordan

Laurie Jordan is the author of YAWNING YOGA: A GOODNIGHT BOOK FOR A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP based on her successful bedtime yoga series, Yawning Yoga and the creator of Little Sprouts Yoga for kids. She has a Masters in Social Work from Columbia University School of Social Work and is a certified yoga instructor for children and adults. Find her yoga practice here.

Laurie took her first yoga class when she was 15 but the experience left a nasty taste in her mouth. She was kicked out for laughing at the instructors mantra, “feel the honey golden light in your…unmentionables” Eeww.

Who would have thought that all these years later, that “honey golden” moment would be the one that influences her teaching the most? (Or at the very least, that it serves as a reminder to never say anything as hippy- dippy and dorky as that–and to always, always keep it real.)