How do you approach challenges in your life? Do you play around do you let perfectionism get in your way? Kat Farrants muses on her conversation with David Kam on how playful curiosity provides a worthwhile approach.
Sometimes I can fall into a thought trap. That trap says to me, it’s not all perfect so let’s not bother. These are the thoughts that I think most of us get, that stop us from say, picking up one piece of litter when we can see litter everywhere. Or stop us from trying when we can see that things are hard. This is the thought that stops me from doing my best effort of a version of a pose when I’m watching one of our videos and the teacher instructs a pose I’m not keen on. I’ll be tempted at that point to stop the video, or take a moment to grab a glass of water. I don’t like playing around. Do you ever do that?
Play with Possibilities
Whereas instead the real value comes from playing with the possibilities, not being defeated. You can’t headstand, that’s OK. You can put do some dolphin variations to build shoulder and core strength when the teacher instructs the headstand. Or you don’t crow. Again, that’s fine. What about practicing your squat in that time. We all do it.
Our newest teacher is David Kam. His classes will drive some of you mad. Just playing around, having fun, and many of the things that he does are for the more mobile. But the trick is to explore, what is possible here? What are my edges? What can I do and what could I enjoy?
In my most recent podcast, I interview David. I do hope you’re all listening and enjoying it!
In the interview David says something really interesting. He talks about what it is to continue your practice when you’re in connection, in relationship to your surroundings. I often hear people saying that they can’t do a home practice because they have a toddler crawling on them, or a puppy licking their face, or a partner saying unhelpful things. In other words, they don’t have a dedicated, sacred space just for their practice. Well who does? Life is imperfect, we have busy lives filled with wonderful other beings who accompany us on our journey. And they are curious about our yoga and want to join us on our mat. But what I loved about David’s interview is that he says that actually, your practice, your whole life practice, is about being responsive to your surroundings.
Your practice becomes creative when your pets/children/partner intervenes, and actually, that is what yoga really is! It’s the ability to be responsive, to connect with others. There is always change and disruption in life. We never find the ‘right time’ or the ‘right place’ but the wonderful thing to do is to remove the thought of looking for a safe haven of a mat space, and re-frame your intention to ‘how can I practice in connection, in relationship with others and my environment’.
I often find that my dog finds a comfortable place lying right on the mat, longways. She’s not a small dog!! And I’ll just accommodate my practice around her, because she’s important to me, and it’s nice for me to know that she values the connection, which is what yoga is about!
The other thing that I find really fascinating in David’s interview is that he explains his approach in his taught yoga class, which I found deeply uncomfortable. In his class, there is no mat, which is our safe space in yoga classes. And he encourages everyone to practice together, often in a circle and in relation to each other. As a Brit, I did find this deeply uncomfortable. But actually, it’s a very beautiful thing.
Sometimes yoga can be practiced, especially in the larger studios, like we’re all on the tube. We have our little space, we avoid eye contact and we don’t acknowledge anyone else in the room. I used to practice at the same studio every day for a decade and never connected with a single person except the teacher. For me, this is why practicing at home with my favourite teachers has been so liberating, because I found the studio so unfriendly and really quite an unpleasant experience. I do know that there are many classes and studios where a community is actively fostered, but if it’s not, to my mind, there is nothing lonelier than going to a large public yoga class where there is no playing around.
So the world is imperfect. Distractions happen. Other people are around and often do very inconvenient things. But navigating all of the messiness of life is what the journey is all about, and I’m taking David’s wise words to heart, that the real play is finding that even with the change and disruption, we need to embrace the change, respond to exactly what is going on and take away the bubbles so many of us live in.
>> Listen to David talking about creativity and playfulness on our podcast<<
About Kat Farrants:
Movement for Modern Life’s fabulous founder Kat Farrants lives her yoga and her own yoga practice informs how she develops MFML. This post was written by Kat and is inspired by her exploration into how she can take the small steps to move into a happier, healthier and more sustainable life. Please do join her on this journey and explore with us your happiest, healthiest, most sustainable life
Your talk and then following David’s perspective on doing yoga gives me great amount of food for thought. I do tend to be stuck on my way of doing things and thank you both for giving me a scope for changing my way of looking at situations. By the way I loved David’s session on shoulder movements…difficult but what fun Thank you David!
David is definitely inspiring in terms of encouraging us to try something different in the spirit of playfulness. It is interesting, isn’t it to observe how, sometimes doing things a different way can feel difficult but fun?
Yes I recognise this in my own practice and those that come to my classes. I recently taught a sequence that required everyone to change from their familiar spots in the room and to embrace some more playful movements. Although we were all a little nervous to begin with it resulted in an increase in energy and enthusiasm for our practice!
I love how you comment on how something as simple as changing to a less familiar spot in the room can shed a new perspective on our practice. Shaking it up can be so helpful and playfulness is a wonderful frame of mind to approach change through, isn’t it?