laughing_Buddha_Statue

Buddha Likes to Giggle

During the first month of the covid lockdown in the New York metro area, I found myself doing yoga every day.

Not a ton of yoga…

Just enough to shake off the anxiety I was feeling and to put my body in a space that felt healthy without exercising so much that I was overtaxing my body.

Even on my sleepy days I could do this moving meditation.

Somehow, the Facebook algorithm picked up on my interest in yoga and presented me with an online teacher training course.

While I was not really interested in teaching yoga, I was interested in deepening my practice and committing to doing at least a little yoga every day.

So I signed up for the course and since May I have been working a bit on it almost every day.

I am not done yet, but am really enjoying it.

It has been challenging at times. More challenging than I expected. But I managed to get through the tough parts pretty easily.

That is, until I got to the point where I had to plan my own course lessons.

When I first noticed I was stressing, I laughed at the irony that my yoga practice and this course was now making me feel the anxiety I was trying to get rid of by taking the course.

It was not like there was a deadline to finish coming up any time soon, but I felt suddenly underprepared for this step in my education, despite having practiced yoga as a student for over 20 years.

At the same time I started to feel this stress, my body started to feel really tight.

Old injuries that had been soothed by the daily yoga started to be aggravated by it.

Was I not breathing properly from the stress of it all?

Was I hurting because I was feeling stress in the body, which was not allowing my body to move as fluidly as it had at the start of the class?

Or had I just burnt out?

It must be too many chaturungas!

I think it was a bit of all of the above.

Most importantly, though, it had lost the sense of playfulness and fun that it had had at the beginning of the course.

Now it was, “OMG, I think I actually AM training to be a teacher. I better do this right and be damn good.”

No. No. No.

Every new activity starts as a fun and zippy idea, right?

Can you relate to that? And can you relate to taking that fun and zippy idea and bringing it into reality only to later put a bunch of heavy serious energy to it as you get into it more deeply?

I hate when I do that and I am starting to see how often I do that and how that really has effected a lot of the things that I started doing for the sake of fun.

The thing about living an artistic life is that it seems that everything that one makes and gets REALLY into seems that it then has the potential to be brought into the professional realm.

Los Angeles was very much an influence on me seeing my art and everything I made as either a way to market my Business (with a capital ‘B’) or to monetize what I created.

The only reprieve I felt from that was when I lived in Las Vegas briefly and I got hooked in with a bunch improv actors and we just made stuff to make stuff.

There was no looking over my shoulder to see who was watching.

There was no concern that what I was making would not appeal to ‘the industry’.

I flew my freak flag high and had a great time doing it!

And, ironically, we made some pretty fun-to-watch content, albeit rough in production value.

And by thinking of that, as I return to creating my yoga classes, I have to remember the fun part of this.

Yoga and yogis have this image of being so stoic in their practice and presence.

And true, there is a reverence for it. I certainly have a reverence for yoga as a form of exercise and art and meditation, and these last few months have only deepened that respect.

I had no idea how deep the well went, but, boy, when I started reading the texts and really getting into the philosophy (and especially the breathwork) yoga became even more profoundly transformational to me.

But now, as I write this, I am seeing that I have to keep the reverence in my practice, but add in the playfulness again, and that is definitely possible to do if I make that intention.

I think I need to get a laughing Buddha for my yoga space. That will be a good focal point for me and remind me that even the wise Buddha liked to giggle.

~ L ~

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