Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Post - Alyssa Anderson; Ready, Set... Play!

Hey folks, I'm on a relaxing Hawaiian vacation with my family this week, so I've asked some beautiful, talented and inspiring ladies to guest post for me while I'm away. 

I first met Alyssa on twitter. She is vibrant and outgoing and we got along swimmingly - despite us both being introverts. ;) Because Alyssa gets just as excited about all things health, yoga, and fitness as I do, I was thrilled when she reached out to me about guest posting while I'm away. I know you'll love reading about her experiences as much as I do. I mean, she is writing about some of my favorite things, after all. 

When I first approached Alyssa (by the way, we share the BEST NAME EVER and have the proper spelling…) about guest posting, I was brimming with ideas. However, as the time went by, one theme seemed to keep bubbling to the surface.

I would spend every minute of every day outside if I could. I would walk barefoot in the sand, run through the grass, and roll down hills. At this point, you might be thinking This chick is stuck at 7 years old. But before I pull out my crayons and prove to you that I’m on to something…let me tell you a story. Grab something yummy to sip and play some fun music. I’ve got a cup of coffee with honey and am listening to the Ryan Montbleau Band.

At the end of February, I went to Oahu, Hawaii (a few islands over from where Alyssa is!) for the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival. I was selected as a volunteer and jumped at the chance to practice with some of the world’s best yoga teachers, visit Hawaii, and serve. One session I participated in was with THE Baron Baptiste…you know, the guy who INVENTED Baptiste power vinyasa yoga.

I expected his class to kick my butt, since he’s known for power yoga. Instead, I was delightfully surprised to see a different side of Baron. His class was about playfulness. Invite playfulness into your practice. Dance in the poses that scare you. Playfulness creates lightness. By allowing ourselves to play, our hearts and spirits opened up. As a class, we laughed together, fell out of balance poses, and felt oh-so-sweetly free.

I decided to play more in my life. Be childlike in my wonder of the world. I mean, have you seriously looked a leaf recently? Go outside and grab one and come back. We’ll wait…Ok. The veins and striations, the dancing of colors depending on light. Beautiful. Heck, even the color of a leaf is powerful! The green comes from the chlorophyll, which creates carbohydrates from light. SUGAR from the SUN. Science is cool.

Anyway. Another session I went to was with Eion Finn. This man is amazing. After leaving Baron’s class, my bar was set pretty high. Eion blew the bar away. He started the Blissology movement and lives for the connection to nature. We practiced outside, in the grass (Grassasana), to reconnect with the earth. We jumped around like frogs and pretended to surf. We played like children in a grassy field. His class further altered my worldview.

What I’m trying to say is that all to often we feel this need to grow up and stop playing and “get our lives together.” I suggest we never stop playing and get outside some more. I know you see hills and think Man, it would be so great to roll down that hill. Well, I dare you to do it. I double, no, TRIPLE dog dare you. Let go a little. Live a lot. Laugh more. I think you’ll find that by playing and getting outside, you’ll find lightness in your life. A breezy easiness. Appreciate a good climbing tree. Jump over the waves at the beach. Play!

Oh, important piece before I go. Stop caring what people will think if you decide to act a little goofy or stomp in puddles. Are you happy? Did you smile while you were playing? Yes? Then you’re beautiful and free. Free from the judgment of others (plus, they just WISH they could be you). Now, excuse me, my mud pies are almost finished and I have a round of hopscotch to finish. 

Alyssa Anderson is a recent graduate (yay!) with her M.S. in Community Health Education. She currently lives in Pensacola, FL surrounded by sugar white sands and seashells with her fiancĂ© and dog, Lemon. While she isn’t a yoga teacher quite yet, it is on her life plan. For now, she works for a non-profit dedicated to improving the health of the community through a variety of events and resources. Tweet with her @alyand18 

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