We’re all too often wrapped up in the tasks of life. As we age, we run the risk of diminishing our natural creativity for the sake of ‘being a grown-up’. The practice of yoga will help keep the inner child alive, and creativity flowing.
By Seka Ojdrovic
Children can be our best teachers
Nearing the end of a particularly child-like weekend (spent tumbling down a waterslide, enjoying a double-scoop ice cream cone and visiting a toy store), I was thrilled when the sun shone bright so that I could practice yoga outside. Mat in tow, I walked to a sunny patch of grass in a park nearby.
As I was transitioning from Warrior II to Triangle Pose, I felt a pair of curious eyes on me. Pausing in my practice, I looked over to see a little girl, no more than 5, watching my movements. Feeling experimental, I raised my arm to extended triangle. I was thrilled when the little girl mimicked me. I continued on that way, each of us sharing our practice with one another, while the girl’s amused mother looked on.
That encounter energised the rest of my yoga practice. The little girl was an excellent yoga teacher; she not only taught me how connected we all are to one another – she also taught me what it was like to approach life with a sense of play, honesty and unabashed curiosity.
Approach the world with the honesty of a child
I remember the days when I could entertain myself for hours with a few shiny pebbles and some acrylic paints. Games of hide-and-go-seek were always filled with maniacal, happy laughter, and everyone was a friend.
Practicing yoga helps me find the same carefree approach to life that came so easily to me as a child. After an hour on the mat, I feel internal peace and love for mankind. I don’t bother with worrying about the future, I simply appreciate every moment that comes my way – just as I did as a child.
The ‘games’ of grown-ups can be quite different. Simple honesty is all too often replaced by opportunistic deception in the name of ‘getting ahead’. Friends are chosen much more carefully, we look for people with something in common, rather than choosing friends based on the commonality of being human. People sometimes use the word ‘childish’ as if it’s a bad thing. I would rather be called childish than ‘adultish’!
Play to your heart’s content!
It’s never too late (or too soon!) to get back in touch with the inner child. We can choose to embrace natural child-like honesty, and to love all equally and with abandon.
There is no limit to opportunities for play. Singing in the shower, exploring tide pools, pushing children on swings. Even the office is a great place for spontaneous, easy laughter.
Practicing yoga in all of its forms will surprise you by opening you up to the kind of light-heartedness you thought you left behind in childhood.
That little girl knew I was onto a good thing as she watched me. Her unabashed curiosity reminded me of a time when I wasn’t worried so much about how others saw me, I was more interested in learning about the world around me. There was no question too silly to be asked, no notion too ridiculous to be within the realm of possibility. She taught me more about yoga that afternoon than hours of asana spent trying to attain the ‘perfect yoga pose’ ever could.
The child within will never leave you – it’s just up to you to set the play date.