Remember the carefree days of childhood, when a handstand was a trick associated with joy and awe?
Play makes achievements feel light and effortless, while practice is often considered to be more of a serious venture. Though strict discipline and focused dedication have their places in the grand scheme of things, they can easily set us up for failure in the form of ego-based motivations.
Here are a few poses that’ll help you get out of your head for the sake of getting into your body, allowing you to approach your asana with a more lighthearted attitude:
Pose 1: Child’s Pose
You knew this one was coming! What better way to drop the pretenses than relax into an easy, serene Child’s pose? This is the ultimate opportunity to surrender to everything and anything that has left you rigid, self-conscious, or overthinking your form.
Simply sit with the intention of surrender, then relax into the pose, arms draped loosely by your sides, or lying limply in front of you. Remind yourself that there is nowhere to be, nothing to accomplish beyond the act of full and complete surrender to the truest part of yourself; the child within.
Pose 2: Tree Pose
We rarely fear that a tree will topple over. We instinctively know that its deep roots will support it, no matter how tall it might grow. This is a metaphor we can all learn something from – and what better way than through Tree Pose.
Imagine strong, deep red roots growing from the sole of your supporting foot while you’re in this pose. Bringing imagination and playful visualization into it helps you release the need to be perfect in your balancing efforts. Giggle at your wobbles and and have fun with it! And if you do wobble, simply get back up and start again. Even mighty trees sway.
Pose 3: Crow Pose
Not only is this pose great practice for building into headstand, it can help you enjoy the process more deeply, as well. Although it can be a tricky one, Crow Pose brings with it the opportunity to let imagination take center stage; putting the ego in its place and inviting play in.
While assuming this pose, allow childlike trust to infuse your body and mind. The assurance that you are perfect, you are supported, and you can achieve your heart’s desire.
Pose 4: Dolphin Plank
Do you know what dolphins are known for (aside from their majestic presence)? They’re the playful, giddy mammals of the sea!
Dolphin plank is admittedly more about steady focus and less about playful movement, but the art of staying in a plank pose as long as possible can be a game in and of itself. To increase your stamina and have more fun, try holding the pose for the duration of your favorite song. (Remembering, of course, that it’s okay to falter).
We all have an urge to be as perfect as possible, especially when it comes to a dedicated body practice. Goals are great, but try focusing on playing with your strength and abilities, approaching your practice from a place of wonder.
See what happens when you let go…you may surprise yourself!