Who Made the Rules?!
At the end of my class today at Equinox on the Upper West Side in Manhattan as I was telling my students to let go in to sivasana (corpse pose), I started thinking about how we impose certain rules on our selves once we become adults. We don’t allow our selves to take a mid day nap or have some milk and cookies or go outside to play after lunch. As kids, we had time to day dream and lie down for a mid day snooze and run outside to get some fresh air. We indulged in an afternoon snack when we got home from school; and truly enjoyed it, before running outside to play some more. Backbends seemed effortless and kicking up in to handstand was fun!
I think yoga continues to reach so many people because it allows us to bring out our inner child. We get to do crazy poses, turn upside down, open our selves up, make silly noises (flubbering out lips and chanting “om” etc.) and take a much needed nap. We explore shapes with out bodies and loosen up for a while. They say yoga aids in stress relief because of the deep emphasis on the breath, which is definitely true. I think it also releases stress by just allowing us all to move organically and to the tune of our own beat. While there are some alignment “rules” or guidelines to follow for each pose, there isn’t any rule saying you have to look a certain way while doing them. It’s just about feeling good in our own body and playing on our mat.
I see my students really open up in yoga like no other way in life. I feel like people even take more risks with their clothing now in class and are not afraid of being unique and expressing them selves. In life as adults, we wear our uniforms in the work place or feel the need to dress a certain way. No wonder so many people love wearing their yoga clothes all of the time, even outside the class room! Yoga and yoga clothing makes us feel comfortable and allows us to be so much more free in every situation. We are more likely to walk places and stay more active when we are in our yoga apparel.
I look at my son who loves the world and is full of curiosity. He’s not afraid to fall and is constantly trying new things at the playground and everywhere we go. He’s agile and flexible and puts his toes in his mouth. He’s happy to lie down mid day after all of his running around and give himself a rest break. He’s courageous and confident and fully engaged in every moment. At what point in our life do we lose that? I want to make sure Timothy continues on his path as long as he can. I’m introducing some yoga to him, and he loves to roll out my mat…but he’s already doing his own “yoga” every day. We can use our yoga practice to consistently come back to our inner child and stay young at heart.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!