The Power of Playfulness & Purpose | by Gina Garcia

By Gina Garcia on September 20, 2011

“To be playful and purposeful, that’s powerful.” Baron Baptiste

It was about 90 minutes into this morning’s master yoga class with Baron, during bow pose when it hit me.  There I was slipping in my sweat, sloppily coming to my right side, as directed, still bound in bow.  I had sweat dripping from my face, I smelled, I could barely see through the salt in my eyes, but all of a sudden I started to giggle. I couldn’t stop giggling, and it felt so good.

Off my yoga mat, I love to laugh.  I often cry, and even snort from laughing so hard. My family and friends often imitate my “laughing snort” because they’ve heard it so much.  The yoga classes that I teach have a natural balance of purpose and play.  But when I hit my own mat to practice yoga, why does that lightness disappear? Where does it go?

“Gina Garcia’s yoga practice” goes from rolling out her mat, to shutting out the world and getting really serious about the asana. I never considered there was anything missing from my practice, but this morning, when Baron encouraged us to “bring realization of the intention of playfulness” into our lives, I had an awakening.  He went on to say “to be playful and purposeful – that’s powerful.” Ouch.  My practice definitely has purpose, but it’s lacking plenty of power in the playful department.
When we started the yoga practice, I brought my awareness to how I practice. “Geez Gina, lighten up,” I told myself.  I went from one very serious yoga pose, to another very serious pose.  A little wipe of sweat here and there, then back to getting down to business with me and my mat. I could go on and on about this, but I think you get the drift.  What I realized is that I wasn’t allowing myself to love this yoga practice, the way I feel it in my heart.  The practice was stuck right there, inside me, in my heart.  And when I realized this, it hurt.  But I let it let it go, slowly, moment to moment I became lighter and lighter on my mat.

And there I was, laughing during class! When it was time to move from the right side to the left side in bound bow, I happily thrust my body to the left, smiling lost in the playfulness of it all.

  • yogi fari

    love it! we teachers do need to lighten up with our own practice.

  • Jimmy

    Gina, you are the Cat’s Pajama! I was searching Baron Baptiste online to see if I could find a teacher for my dear friend Lanny from New Orleans. We have been best buddies since we met each other in our hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana, sometime around 1956. I know he will benefit greatly from yoga practice and that it’s not too late to get started. So, reading this post just as I start your 40 Day Challenge here in Sacramento I am humbled by your openness. I hope you remind us about the JOY of PLAYFUL yoga. I didn’t realize that I do that all the time, both in my yoga practice, my spin bike practice, and my running practice. That’s the essential ingredient. BB has it right. I think I am now about 5’8″ too, so it’s nice to know we are the same “size”. You give to us in such a wonderful way. You have made such a huge difference in my life and the lives of many others here in Sacramento. May God Bless You and Keep You. Jim