When we are young and free of conditioning we play. Every moment and circumstance is one of wonder and opportunity for joyful entertainment. But somewhere along the way of “growing up” most of us lose this instinct and instead free moments are filled with planning, judgements, comparisons, worry and all sorts of cognitions.
It seems that once adult our free moments are no longer used for mindful play. For some, when we want to be playful and let go of our concerns we need a drink in hand (or some other external thing) to switch out of this mode into which we have been conditioned. All you need to do is watch a kid and then turn to their parent to compare the stark contrast evident between these generations. So why is this? Is it good and if not, how can someone re-establish this natural practice of playtime?
It is simply a matter of conditioning and survival. One could argue that this conditioning is useful because we may be more likely to avoid negative circumstances and protect ourselves and loved ones. But one could also argue it is nonsense, as when functioning in the present moment (and not in our heads) we are more likely to notice all going on and thus respond to the present more usefully. But not only does this present-moment awareness potentially translate into more useful and relevant reactions, it provides opportunity for a mindset of wonder and appreciation.
If this lack of mindful playfulness sounds all too familiar to you, and maybe you watch young children and dream to be whisked back to the time in your life when you too were more free of concerns and able to be playful and present, then you may benefit from a little playtime practice.
The practice of playtime can be something you set aside to do in your everyday life through certain activities or it can simply be moments you choose to make more playful and mindful. For example, this could include approaching your daily yoga practice with a sense of playfulness or time spent in the kitchen making a meal. Whatever it is you feel is an opportunity to incorporate a little playfulness, do so with a conscious intention to make it this way. Then use your mindfulness skills to let go of thoughts or other distractions that pull you out of this playful mode and choose to turn your awareness back to wonder. Do this over and over again. For me, the most obvious playful opportunities are with my dogs, picking out outfits and when in the garden.
Once you get the hang of playful practice, you will find that in everyday life more moments will naturally become playful, you will instinctually notice the wonder and, just like a kid, your default mode will be one of mindful playfulness and joy. Sounds good? Then give it a go!
If you fancy a bit of help tapping into playfulness and need a hand reclaiming this childlike mindstate, then come and join us for one of our awesome events:
- On 28th October in Newcastle we will be hosting Good Times at the YogaBodyWorks studio, a playful house music party class with after-party at the FogHorn BrewHouse. Tickets through YogaBodyWorks.
- Sunday Sesh
- On Sunday 12th November in Sydney, we are co-hosting alongside Mindset Psychology an urban retreat of yoga and the latest in psychology, with delicious food and plenty of playtime. This day is designed to inspire, empower and support you to create a life you love. Tickets essential www.stickytickets.com.au/58085
Hope to see you there!