Do you remember how awesome it was to be a kid? Every day was a new opportunity to play, every person was a potential playmate, and every household item had the ability to be turned into something cool and fun, like a few blankets and chairs becoming a secret fort.
As adults, we can still access that kid inside us and by doing so, infuse our days with joyful, creative energy. One of the well-known principles of yoga, or really any ongoing repetitive endeavor, is to keep a fresh perspective; a beginner’s mind. Because it’s such a simple idea, the importance and depth of it sometimes gets underestimated and overlooked.
Here are seven ways you can keep a child-like freshness in your yoga practice or any other area of your life.
1. Be willing to try and try again and laugh when you “fail.” There really is no such thing as failure. What many people label failure is really only feedback on how to try again and do it even better. To see the truth of this, just watch an infant trying to walk. There’s no concept of failure, just a joyful exuberance to try and try again.
2. Believe you can do anything, and speak to yourself accordingly. Kids believe in superheroes because kids believe that anything is possible. And truly, with the right attitude (and the willingness to try and try again – see #1) anything is!
3. Be willing to be seen as silly by others. Kids are usually having too much fun to care how they look. Make joy and learning more important than your image, and you’ll inspire others to be goofy too (they really wish they could be, so set an example and give them permission).
4. Be your unique, amazing self. Don’t edit yourself. That is such a grown up thing to do. Kids just ARE. They invite you to take them “as is.” So spend some time really discovering who you are and wear your style boldly and proudly.
5. Shake it up. Don’t get caught in routines. Do things differently. Walk backwards. Brush your teeth with the “other” hand, try new routes, speak pig latin, eat your (healthy) dessert first.
6. Observe kids playing and join in whenever possible. They’re pros at playing. And you were once upon a time. Engage in the light, buoyant, physical games like hop scotch, tag, jump rope and monkey bars to stimulate your childlike perspective.
7. Learn a new, playful skill like hula hooping, square dancing or drawing which turn on the right side of the brain. Learning keeps the mind open and flexible.
This is just a starter list, of course. There are endless ways we can stay young in mind and heart. But none of those ways will come to us until we choose to make keeping a childlike perspective a priority. Consider shaking your life up a little right now. Make a commitment to throw out your old, worn-out patterns and begin cultivating a fresh, new perspective that will infuse your life with playfulness and joy.