What if as adults we lived with a true child-like wonder and faith? What would that feel like? How would that affect those around us, but most importantly how will this approach to life affect our mind, body and soul?
As life experiences shape us, they can also jade us, creating walls around our heart, worrisome thoughts in our mind, and DIS-ease in our body.
Yoga (meaning to yoke or join the heart, mind, and body into a harmonious state of well-being) is an ancient art and science with universal principles that connect those parts of ourselves. We live in a culture where we have learned to compartmentalize our lives, separating our mind, body and heart and then we find ourselves on our face and knees in child’s pose (Balasna). A pose where our head melts to the earth, our heart surrenders to truth, and our arms are stretched out in acceptance. We are not separate parts; we are, in fact, whole. We breathe in and feel our bellies rise and fall. We allow our weary minds to rest. When I hear any teacher say, “Now, drop to your knees and relax in child’s pose,” my heart smiles because just the word “child” brings up feelings of being child-like, fun and free.
Children have the ability to be fully present to the moment, not worrying about what they are doing next. But some of us experienced tainted childhoods that do bring up fear and anxiety, which can block our present. We can get stuck into the past. While still acknowledging where we come from, how can we re-awaken our inner child? Awaken means “to return from consciousness, transform, to breathe into, kindle, to stir up, and my favorite, “to come alive!”
3 Ways to Awaken Your Inner Child
1. Mind: Having a child-like mind is viewing the world with wonder and excitement. Reset your mind to breathe into the present. Next time life throws a curve ball- pause and stir up your consciousness to look at the positive. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can change our mind about them. My dearest friend recently passed away from ovarian cancer, and my mind says, “Cancer SUCKS. This is so wrong. This is unfair!” I am then reminded that I can focus my mind on the happy times, our friendship and our laughter. There is a shift from tears to smiles to acceptance. Tears are healthy. Nothing grows without water. There is a time to grieve, and then there is a time to laugh, too. Awaken your mind to the present joy. When a negative thought creeps in, replace that thought with three positive ones to reset and awaken new neurological pathways. These pathways stimulate the deep limbic system, the part of the brain that is responsible for our emotional life and the formation of memories.
2. Heart: My favorite Proverb 17:22 is, “A happy heart is good medicine.” If you have not experienced a laughing yoga session, seek one out in your area. Laughing has amazing physiological and psychological benefits ranging from decreasing heart disease and stimulating endorphins that affect your mood, to strengthening your core.” Elvis Presley once said about laughter, "It's pure freedom. It's like being a kid again." “ Even if you can’t find a laughing yoga session, ask someone you love to experience this phenomenon of laughter. All you have to do is say, “laugh,” start laughing, and something magical happens. Laughter is so contagious, you’ll be crying and laughing at the same time-pure medicine!
3. Body: One of my favorite activities is jumping on the trampoline with my boys. Being type “A” in nature, I tend to box out my “workouts,” thinking if I am not in yoga or spin class then I am not gaining the benefits from physical fitness. That is so far from the truth. A good ole’ fashion walk, jog or bike ride are other fun ways to experience child-like activities. Here’s another one: How about playing “Freeze Yoga Tag” with your kids? One person is “it” and the others run, when the “it” person tags another player, that person freezes in a yoga pose of their choice, while the others running free can un-tag the “pose.”
As you awaken your inner child remember to “LOVE, LIVE, LAUGH and LEARN,” along a kids’ yoga journey.