On a once In a blue moon day, I was asked, how do you get the sparkle back in your eyes?
In your average yoga class, there is no talking, at least not on the student’s part. In the Boulder County Jail I find it difficult at times to settle down a little occasional class conversation. I try not to encourage it, but at times it creates connection, understanding and even a deeper sense of our shared humanity. Stories always do this, and if there is value for everyone in them, why stifle that?
The story on the blue moon day was that of a student whose grandmother asked her mother where the sparkle in her daughter’s eyes had gone. Her grandmother said that her granddaughter used to “have the light.” The woman who shared this story was this child, and seven at that time. I had to ask if we all didn’t lose some of our sparkle that most pre seven year old children glow with. Do we somehow get taught not to sparkle? Does growing up in our culture tend to dim the light of childhood?
I do not know the answer to this, but I imagine it’s a very lucky child that doesn’t lose some of their light. Often children are settling in front of a television, or computer. We are living in a culture where it isn’t considered safe to run free and play without adult supervision. Even as a child who was allowed this freedom, I feel my sparkle was dimmed. Dimmed by the adults who found the pressure of daily life too great to bear, and were unhappy. None of the students in the jail that day felt alone in having lost some childhood sparkle.
How do we find our sparkle? My answer to this question is yoga. Yoga can bring us back to our light. I truly believe in my conviction about this. This is why so many individuals are flocking to yoga classes. They come to get fit and find personal freedom and transformation. Even as people push through Westernized yoga with a focus on postures, something beckons them into the vast yogic call toward happiness, a greater sense of self, even enlightenment. At first it’s the exercise, but then gently the teachings, the stillness the call of peace sneak and settle in. The sparkle in the eye of childhood returns. Even in a jail cell, I am told; people find strength, stability and inner peace, with the practice of yoga and meditation.
The benefits of a mindful practice lights us up! I hope that EVERYONE can leave yoga feeling better than they felt before getting started. That there is a sense of being more centered and able to be more connected with that inner sparkly child.
As a dancer I find I am easily lifted into this place through dance as well. It is not about the physical movement, but more about the freedom of expression and play involved. The meditative state I enter as I move. I for one could not live without yoga and dance. For me, it’s as vital as water or breathe. It’s the sparkle in my eye.