Today we had a guest teacher come in and guide us through our morning asana practice. She spent two hours guiding us through postures to prepare our bodies properly for upward-facing bow pose (what most people call full wheel). She meticulously provided every alignment detail and every reason as to why we do all that we did to prepare for this one intense pose. She carefully watched over all of our movements throughout those 120 minutes to make sure we weren’t causing harm to ourselves. She made sure we all internalized her lesson and understood how to take it into our future asana practices. But she also made us laugh… a lot.
Our normal teacher for the training and her assistant teacher also make us laugh. We laugh all day every day together as we learn and ask questions and explore the ways our bodies and minds practice yoga. Laughing is part of the experience. Laughing at ourselves, laughing with each other, laughing just to laugh. I’ve laughed more in the past three weeks than I did in the six months prior. Every day it feels easier and easier to laugh more and more.
Now that’s not to say that training is getting easier and easier as well. If anything, it’s getting increasingly difficult. But as that happens, it becomes even more important to not take ourselves so seriously all the time. We have to find joy in the moments between the progress that fills us with a sense of accomplishment because it keeps us moving toward the next one. We have to be able to make fun of our mistakes and failures so we don’t internalize them to the point where we let them define us in a critical way. We have to enjoy the company of those we keep so we aren’t just sitting there like miserable people for a month straight.
It’s amazing how much lighter I feel today compared to three weeks ago. My mother can hear it in my voice on the phone, my friends notice it in the anecdotes I choose to share, my boyfriend can see it in how unapologetically silly I become just because I feel like it. And a lot of this lightness has come from all of this laughter. It is opening up my heart and mind, making space for all of the new things I’m learning and experiencing now (and will in the future). It’s detoxing me from all of the negative energy that I used to harbor inside. It’s letting me express emotion without inhibition. And it’s making me realize just how good my life is on any given day.
I’m so grateful this training — while rooted in serious concentration and devoted physical practice — helped me remember how to laugh again. We could all probably use a reminder like this from time to time.