Mindfulness is one trait we're called to practice in Yoga. This not only means creating a sense of wonder and inner peace, no matter our outward circumstances, today, but also calling calling to mind the joys of the past. We're not meant to dwell on them...we're not meant to focus on how awkward we were. But, if we can discover just a glimmer of that inner sparkle we had as children, we can bring that forward today. We can give ourselves the gift of pure present moment living.
Here are some ways to tap into that inner child...with all memories:
- What was your favorite book ? Check it out from the library and reread it. You may find you love it as much today as you did when you were younger.
- What was your favorite food ? Ask a parent, or consult a cookbook, for the recipe. Savor each bite, regardless of the calories and fat. You're rekindling a moment, not thinking about your waistline.
- What did you love to do outdoors ? Was it riding your bike, or spinning in circles outside ? Do it ! Go to a playground and swing.
- What was your favorite outfit ? See if you can approximate something similar from your closet..within reason, of course. Looking like a schoolgirl in a short skirt tends to be more naughty than retrospective these days.
- Look at pictures of yourself from a particular age and ask yourself : "What did she like to do best ? What were her hopes and dreams ?" Don't judge yourself based on where you are now, but think about what the girl (or boy) in that particular moment was thinking.
In this journey to the past, you may find some unhappy memories resurface along with the happy ones. Process those feelings. Understand them. But, then let them move on...as you practice your Pranayama breath mindfully, you can let the negativity go...and breathe back into the young person you once were, but without the worries. As you inhale, envision pure love, pure hope and pure radiance. As you exhale, envision letting go of anything negative you have been hanging onto...your fears, your worries, your thought patterns.
By tapping into your inner child, you will find that you have the ability to heal yourself, do some laughing along the way, and then just let yourself stop being so serious. Even, if it's just for an afternoon, spit watermelon seeds, make funny faces at the mirror, do your hair in a goofy style and paint your toenails all different colors. Life is too short to lose that inner spark of childlike joy.
(This is me at age 12...back when I thought I could fly....)