The mindfulness pillar that resonates with me the most is to have a sense of humour. It takes such strength and calmness and a great deal of self-awareness to be able to step back in certain situations and take them light-heartedly. It is so easy to get swept up sometimes and get frustrated. This then leads to the mind spiraling out of control and creating catastrophic thought patterns. The mind then creates imaginary outcomes that are not at all based on reality. I remember one example of this;
I was backpacking through Europe with a young love back when I was 21. We had caught a train to a small town in Poland and we were trying to get back to our hotel about 4 hours away. Just when we thought we had it sorted, we realized we’d caught the wrong train and it was going in the wrong direction, so we got off at the next station. The station we got off at was something you’d imagine out of a movie; the station was literally boarded up and a tiny old woman stared at us out of a top window and then shut it fiercely. There was no one around and we had no idea when the next train would come. I looked at my boyfriend and he was pacing around and almost going red from frustration and I just burst out laughing. This made him angry! “What are you laughing at, we’re in the middle of Poland and we have no working phones, no idea where we are, no idea which train to catch, and no one is around to help us!”. I kept chuckling to myself and simply replied, “Come on, you have to admit this will make a funny story one day. Why not just laugh about it now?”.
Looking back, I remember this so clearly even though it was 10 years ago, because it was a pivotal moment for me. I actually surprised myself in that moment. At times I can stress and obsess about things but for some reason, in that moment, I completely relinquished control. It may have had something to do with the fact that I needed to counterbalance my boyfriend’s frustration, I’m not sure. Whatever it was, it was what I needed at the time and as it turns out, everything was fine in the end. We took about 5 hours longer than planned to get back to the hotel, but we did find another cute little town to explore so it actually worked out quite well! I’ll never forget that learning experience.
The reason this pillar resonates with me the most is because it’s the one I find most easy to embody. Nothing keeps me present like laughter. Laughter literally makes anything better. That feeling of a smile behind my eyes, as well as laughter, are some of my most pleasurable moments. This feeling is not only enjoyable but highly infectious and spreads so easily as joy. Nothing good comes from taking yourself too seriously.
In my yoga practice, I think it’s important not to take myself too seriously. By this I mean I endeavor not to get frustrated or expect too much from myself and if I can’t achieve something on the day, so what. I’ll smile and move on.
In teaching yoga… I’ll always try and make my class laugh. This is the energy I hope to embody as a teacher. I want to keep things light-hearted as my way of connecting with my students.
~ Hannah Meenan
(Yoga NRG Graduate Teacher – 200hr Teacher Training / Gladstone & Brisbane)
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