Play Within The Thorns & The Roses

I was excited to head to BIG in Houston, TX, to help Jenny Noonan with the Baptiste Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training Program. I always look forward to being on program, and I was very focused on being able to create with Jenny, but also how I was to bring it back to Albany, NY this summer as a Baptiste Foundation training to serve K-12 teachers, as well as training other kids yoga teachers.

Baron’s first Masterclass for the No Thorns No Roses Tour happened at BIG during the training. Having recently just completed Fit to Lead in November, I was looking forward to practicing with Baron, but had no real expectations about the class other than it was a nice opportunity to be a part of his Masterclass. What opened up for me as a result of the No Thorns No Roses Masterclass was completely unexpected and exhilarating. I found a renewed sense of play, purpose and passion. Baron’s message was so on-point, and it related back to the Kids Yoga Teacher training – to be with things as they are and as they are not; to embrace each moment in its entirety: the rose, the thorns, all of it. We tend to seek the beauty of the rose, but are unwilling to be with the thorns. In embracing it all, there is freedom and play. Even in play we will encounter thorns. The question is not how you get rid of the thorns, but can you embrace them as a part of the whole? The 2.5 hour practice flew by. I was able to embrace the “thorny patches” of my practice as part of a beautiful and complete whole. When I did that, I found myself moving with more intentionality, with more purpose and power. Parts of the practice that I usually make so hard or that I “struggled with” still had the thorns, but in accepting it all, I gained access to new discovery and new power in poses that I’d written off. My “I struggle with Wheel” story, the “I don’t do Wheel because my shoulders are tight” thing became just a part of the practice. Each of the 10 wheels we did that night, I did in my fullest expression. I was also in my fullest sense of complaint; the thorns were still there. Each Wheel held a newness in physical sensation. My quads burned, my wrists were sore, but each time I went up I was curious what would be there if I stayed in among the thorns. The struggle transformed into strength. There was physical intensity present, but there was also a tremendous amount of freedom and play. I laughed, sweat and played more during that class than I have in a long time. Every single moment was perfectly imperfect.

Play doesn’t always look a certain way. When children are at play, they sometimes have a serious focus or they are silly and laughing. But it’s all play. It’s freedom and expression in being fully in the moment, as it is and as it is not. They play full out at 100%. As adults, our ability to play is constrained by expectations, of our “shoulds” and “should nots,” our concerns for looking good and getting it right, and our old stories. Those constraints cost us the ability to play big, to play full out, at our 100%. Avoiding the thorns isn’t worth that cost to me. I choose instead to play my life in the thorns and the roses, not one without the other. I will not be a victim constrained by thorns and – at the same time – I will play within the thorns for they have purpose, just as the rose has purpose. In experiencing them in their wholeness – in the way that they are intertwined – I have access to my purpose.

Written by Fit To Lead graduate, Melissa Leach.