Our Practice – Funny Names and Humor in the Pose
This week’s blog is all about humor. Maintaining a sense of humor both in our practice and in our daily life. I was thinking about what poses cause me to laugh because they invoke a funny memory or because they are just so ridiculously unrealistic for most humans to get into unless they are a hyper mobile 5-year-old Russian gymnast, or a 5-year-old hyper mobile Indian boy trained by Iyengar since birth.
Tree pose makes me laugh every time I do it as it makes me think of my dad. When I visited my parents in Florida, he would sometimes be sitting in his chair just off the lanai when I was practicing. He would tease (heckle) me in the colorful way that only he could and, while I was trying to be oh so meditative or yogic, I would just start to laugh so hard and fall over. When I do tree now and find myself tensing up or not finding my balance, I remember those days and smile and it always serves to straighten and strengthen my pose. By the way, this photo was taken when Peter and I were visiting a friend at her alarmed home and compound - I had just set off her alarm and went scurrying out by her fountain to sneak a little practice in, hoping that no one knew it was me - they did!
When thinking further about yoga and humor, I started thinking about all the names of poses and how, out of context, they can seem really funny. While it will be interesting sometime for us to discuss the derivation and meaning of asanas (poses) and their Sanskrit names and derivations, this week I was thinking about what poses should really be called.
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)- also known as thunderbolt pose-should be called “like no blankety-blank chair you have ever sat in” pose.
Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel pose) when I do it, it should be called rickety coffee table (ok envision the shape of a half of a wheel versus a coffee table (see below) - you will understand what I mean).
And for a few of you out there, you know who you are, I think you call Navasana (Boat) pose “the one I pray she forgets but never does” pose.
Apparently, I am not the only one who makes up names for poses, there are all kinds of blogs and posts on this topic. One that I found particularly funny (not including the inappropriate ones-google them yourselves) is here:
Meditation - Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh
You’ve heard me say that one of the two rules in my practice is maintaining a sense of humor (the other is to breathe). Usually, I am saying that in the context of our practice, don’t get too serious about how a pose looks or feels, just have fun. We have been talking about taking our yoga off the mat into our daily life, and my own mantra of “maintaining a sense of humor” was put to the test off the mat a couple of days ago. I took my mom for what was likely our 27th or 28th trip to the Brimfield Antiques Fair. Standing in the parking lot next to our car at the hotel we were staying at, I watched as my keys slid off the hood and down the storm drain. I looked at my mother and, laughed. What could I do? Clearly a first world problem, and an inconvenience and expense, but not life altering.
“If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide” – Mahatma Gandhi
There is quite a bit written about Gandhi and his sense of humor, I found this article interesting. Think about it, if he could maintain humor in the face of the adversity he faced, should we get rattled by some of the things we do?
“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road” – Henry Ward Beecher
If you are wondering who Henry Ward Beecher is, he was an American Congregationalist minister known for his support of the abolition movement. He was the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin. For more on him:
Oh, and for those of you wondering how the story turned out, while the wonderful firemen, police and guy from the water company valiantly tried many things, in the end, my son Sam drove the two hours each way up and back to bring me my spare set and saved the day (night)!
Nurturing With Food – Kale Chips
Anyone who tells you these are like potato chips is lying. They are, however, good and fit the bill when you need a crunchy, salty snack and haven’t already dived into the bag of Lays. I also happen to have an abundance of kale still growing and the bigger the leaves get, the easier to make into kale chips. My son Sam likes these too and between the two of us we can polish off a batch in the time it takes to finish that one very cold beer along with them.
Link to recipe:
See you on the mat