When I started authoring these “words” four years ago, I made a conscious decision not to inject them with too many of my own personal experiences. All along, these Wednesdays have been for you…the reader, not about me…the writer. I’m breaking my self-imposed rule today, albeit briefly.
Today’s title represents a marriage of sorts between a milestone birthday that I celebrated in early November (that’s all I’ll say) and some of my new, yoga-inspired thinking on happiness.
As way of back-story, I decided a few months ago to take another stab at yoga – I was craving the stretch, the silence, and the sweat that hot yoga could offer my “aging” (see milestone above) body.
Needless to say, the yoga room and rigor invite all kinds of reflective posing but one position, in particular, stopped me in my stretch, silence, and sweat. It’s called “happy baby.”
While it’s probably the one pose that’s possible, with relative ease, for most people, photographs from your own crib days will serve as a reminder. It requires lying on your back and reaching up to grab your toes, legs and arms bent as much as necessary, fully relaxed and not trying to prove any “muscle wrapped around bone” extension of your limbs.
One recent day, it occurred to me that being in “happy baby” offers lesson on how to be a happy adult.
If granted, my birthday wish this year is that, above and beyond the yoga mat and yoga blankie (the towel that soaks up all the aforementioned sweat), we, as adults, are able to become “happy babies” again – at least once in a while.
Here’s more about the wish.
First, I blow (In yoga, the teacher says, “inhale, then exhale.”) out the candle that grants me sacred moments to gaze above and beyond.
This is about “happy babies” and their “mobiles” – the colorful, whimsical, attention-inspiring images in their future line of sight that keeps them wondering AND smiling.
In yoga, lying briefly and quietly on our backs, “happy baby” offers a moment to gaze at nothing and at everything simultaneously. In life, it’s about an unobstructed vision for what can lie happily ahead.
Second, I blow (“inhale, then exhale”) out the candle that grants me permission to express myself.
This is about “happy babies’ and their unencumbered “voices.”
In yoga despite the room’s quiet, the instructor encourages his/her “happy babies” to show up as loudly as possible in breath and body. It’s not about getting it “right” but getting it out — audibly, authentically, even awkwardly (Check out my “half moon” pose and you’ll understand “awkward.”). In life, it’s about encouraging in ourselves and others, unedited, scripted versions of babble, gurgle, coo, even cry every once in a while.
Finally, I blow (“inhale then exhale”) out the candle that grants me unconditional (no questions, no judgment) breaks from our professional and personal stretch and sweat.
This is about “happy babies” and basking in the effort it takes to turn over and discover their feet.
In yoga, “happy baby” is the reward that follows 75 minutes of relentless effort at 98 degrees. In life, it’s about the self- or other-encouraged “chill” after other kinds of turns — possibly turning a new leaf, or turning a business idea to business profit.
Birthdays are fleeting…milestone ones feel even more so. Days after my own celebration, I found a surprising sense of comfort during yoga class. I realized, lying there, that my “happy baby” teaches me the daily practice of staking my place, albeit awkwardly, on the mat, grabbing my toes, and realizing wishes for happiness are can come true at all ages…every day of the year, and every year in our lives!