Need a Boost? Get Happy.
Updated: May 7, 2020
Happy Baby Pose is just the thing.
As I cycle with the various waves this storm lashes at me daily, I am reminded of two images I saw recently:
The quote is from a poem by Damian Barr. Full text here
This excerpt is a powerful reminder that we are all experiencing this pandemic, but with vastly differing levels of agency, security, and resources with which to cope.
Some of us have children we are trying desperately to care for, educate, and comfort through this crisis. Others are contending with severe isolation as they struggle to continue to work from home. The economic disparities across the US highlight failed public policies on the macro level, and in the micro view we see ourselves, friends, and neighbors struggle to pay rent, bills, and put food on the table.
This illustration, captioned, We're all pretending., from the New Yorker sings with me as I am attempting to teach various movement classes via zoom. I am certainly not buttoned up attempting to look business-like, but I am doing my best to maintain professionalism and to provide a valuable and valued service to my clients. And, with three kids, two cats, and crisis schooling afoot... it is challenging to find a consistently tidy spot to do my thang! I do feel that the background area matters. A neat, clutter-free space keeps the focus on the material, me offering it, and the student experience. The zoom platform is distracting enough; I don't want to my visual background noise to add to it.
So, I am practicing the same radical compassion I feel for others right now with myself. I must. We must. I no longer have any feelings of judgement or resentment when students don't make it to a class they assured me they would attend. How can I hold them to a higher standard than I can hold myself to right now? Some days I just can't do the thing... whatever the thing is. And, that's ok. I'm doing the best I can do. I assume that is true of others. They show up when they can, how they can. As they are. Raw, but ready. When I show up, I am also raw but ready.
The emotional ping-pong I experience each day is disorienting, to say the least. I understand it's just a natural response to the situation. I get it. And, it's exhausting. When I need to ground and experience a bit of levity, I literally get on the ground and find my happy baby pose. The idea of being grounded and feeling light is a perfect go-to: I am feeling conflicting things all day: gratitude, frustration, rage, sadness, joy. Even the weather can't make up her mind; the temperatures are swinging wildly these days and the winds are blowing hard with change. So, I embrace a pose that offers both: grounding and levity through the hard winds of change.
Happy Baby Pose
If you're called to it:
Lay on your back, pull knees to chest. Flex your feet toward the ceiling. Reach up through your legs on the inside and catch the outside of your feet. Aim for knees toward your arm sockets, feet to the ceiling. If your feet aren't accessible, hold behind the thighs or the shins. Flexibility isn't the point, feet up, knees towards armpits is your goal.
Rock side to side gently, ninja kick one leg out at a time, or flutter your lips on an exhale.
Giggles are good in this pose.
Think about lower back, back of the head, and shoulder points all maintaining connection to the ground as you play.
I recommend spending a solid 3-5 minutes playing in this pose. By play, I mean just that: explore. Wriggle. Melt into the floor with your torso as you reach to the ceiling with the feet. Breathe.
Enjoy the grounded levity.