Gotta Lighten Up

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Lots of people tend to think of yoga as this solemn and oh-so-serious activity. And while I am whole-heartedly committed to my practice and take it quite seriously, I also feel that it’s okay to bring some playfulness into it as well. In fact, for me – it’s necessary.

Anxious. Perfectionist. Set in my ways. Taking myself too seriously. This is the person I was before I found yoga. Yoga has taken me through some dark and somber times, but it’s opened me up to so much more lightness. This might sound strange to some, but yoga actually helped me to take life a little less seriously. It allowed me to have more fun in my world. Rather than freak out when something didn’t go my way, I learned how to roll with the punches, and just take things as they came. The more laughter and fun I could bring on my mat – the more carefree I could be in my practice – the more lighthearted I felt in my life. Less rigidity and rules, more freedom and peace.

I used to be so caught up in labels. I saw things in black or white; I saw myself in boxes. I’m a vegan, I’m a runner, I’m a student, I’m a health nut… If things didn’t fit neatly inside the structure of one of those boxes, then I felt anxious and out of sorts. When I deviated too far from the mean of any of these labels, then I felt anxious and out of sorts. With a habitual yoga practice, however, I learned that it’s okay to blur the lines…and by default, I became a little bit more of a free spirit.

Take music, for example. I went through many, many music phases. During each phase, I was completely devoted to that genre. I rocked my flannels listening to Nirvana and grunge. I wore patchouli and strung hemp necklaces revisiting my parents’ music during my hippie stage. And then I brought out the bandanas and Timberlands for my rap era. It was all good, baby baby.

Today I’m totally reaping the benefits of the music-life-crisis of my youth. I unabashedly love the Grateful Dead AND WuTang Clan. I don’t have to shove myself inside any boxes I don’t fit in. It’s not that serious. I don’t feel guilty or silly or strange singing along to Beyonce one minute and Dire Straits the next. And I often do on my mat during my home practice. For no other reason than I like the music, and it’s fun.

So why Hip Hop Yoga? I say why not? Let’s care a little less and groove a little more. Let’s lighten up and have some fun.

“Gotta lighten up, Gotta lighten up, Gotta lighten up…Shine like the sun”Beastie Boys

See you friday
–Erin

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