It’s simple. It’s true. But how many of us practice it? How many of us turn to play when we feel stressed? How many of us play in our work? How many of us engage playfully in our day to day activities? Do we play with our children? Our significant others? Our friends?
On weekends, maybe. Work, after all, is work, and play is the reward. It isn’t essential to our everyday activities, to keeping a roof over our head, and making sure the kids get to college...right? Play doesn’t pay the bills or win the promotion or earn our child an A in Algebra or get the dishes done before bedtime, or help us stay healthy, right?
Play is an essential ingredient in daily life. Play is crucial to growth, learning, and lifelong health. In the latest research studies, mind-body scientists, childhood development experts, neuroscientists, and pediatricians confirm: play triggers our system to produce the “positive chemical messengers” that build cognitive health, emotional stability, critical and creative thinking skills, physical coordination, strong immune systems, appropriate weight...I could go on and on.
Play also fuels relationships, joy, productivity, creativity, accomplishment and success.
I had to learn this lesson again very recently, and I am thrilled Lisa Flynn offered me the opportunity to share it with all of you yogis, parents, and educators who are friends of ChildLight Yoga and Yoga 4 Classrooms.
Given the harried pace of modern life, it’s challenging to make playtime a priority. I admit that until a week ago, I had let myself get way off balance in my work (and my work is teaching play!!). My small business is only a year old, and I’ve been working at it really hard to get it RIGHT. Doesn’t sound very playful or fun, does it? I was stressing so much that I was killing off my joy, authenticity, and creativity, and neglecting community, instead of nurturing it. I was lucky enough to take part in an amazing workshop for small businesses where, in their own language, they were preaching all the yogic and health principles that I already know, but had failed to apply to my business. In my stress and worry, in my head-driven efforting, I left my yoga and my heart ‘on the mat’, when I know very well that the best place for them is with me - everywhere I go and in everything I do.
So, I have re-dedicated myself to living by this simple life-affirming principle: Play more, Stress Less (which really is just a variation on ahimsa: do no harm). And to celebrate and support you in reconnecting with play as well, I am, giving away a free Yoga Story DVD from the award-winning Scooter & Me series www.move-with-me.com. These stories are pure fun for the whole family, ages 3 - 103. As you play along, you get to be everything in the story - the lion, the cheetah, the rocket, the tree, the stars, etc. You will also learn some helpful self-awareness and self-care skills that can effectively put you back in a play-ready state whenever you get stressed. But what it’s really about is engaging in playtime, anytime - the learning part comes naturally.
To enter to win a DVD, all you need to do is comment here. Tell me about how you play more and stress less, and how play helps you live a happier, healthier life. I’d love to share your responses on our Move With Me blog, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’re okay with that, just let me know in your message. Sharing is a great way to learn and help our community grow in playfulness and health.
I’m looking forward to reading your responses!
~ Leah Kalish, Founder of Move WIth Me Action Adventures