February is inevitably a month filled with emotions. Holiday festivities and New Years hype have completely passed, we find ourselves in the thick of winter, and then there’s Valentine’s day as well, a holiday that evokes all kinds of different reactions from different people.
Although I don’t feel any particular animosity towards Valentine’s day, this winter is starting to get to me, especially since I moved to Atlanta under the impression that winters here are short and mild. So I find myself just passing my days, waiting for warmer weather to come so that I can finally have some fun.
Then I realized that I wasn’t practicing santosha (contentment), or living in the moment.
And that made me think of a book I recently heard of, All Joy and No Fun, by Jennifer Senior. When asked what the title of her book meant, she said, “in terms of saying there is no fun, it’s because there’s a lot of drudgery in parenting, maybe a little bit of boredom.” I found the title of the book and her explanation of it extremely interesting, and although her book is about modern parenting, I think that it can also be applied to other areas of our lives. Like our yoga practice. Or our relationships, particularly ones with our significant others.
It’s been widely noted that living in this modern world with so much access to information and the publicization of private lives has completely warped our expectations. Like when we see those amazing pictures of yogis doing crazy inversions or arm balances in breathtaking places, or stunning wedding photos, or status updates about the sweetest thing your BFF’s partner just did, or an adorable video of your old classmate’s toddler. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s really good that we are celebrating the positive and beautiful moments in our lives online, but sometimes, life isn’t always filled with double rainbows and chocolate-champagne cronuts. And people tend not to publicise their failures or the hard work and countless hours it takes to get where they are. We don’t often see the video of those brilliant yogis falling clumsily out of niralamba sirsasana, or realise exactly just how hard they had to work in order to touch the top of their head with their feet in scorpion pose.
What I love about the title of this book is it reminds you that there is joy even when you aren’t having the time of your life. There is still grace when you’re falling on your face for the 86th time while trying to get into side crow. There is still love when you fight with your significant other. There is still bite to the foods that you’ve had over and over again. There is still excitement in the city that you’ve lived in all your life. Sometimes, life is all joy and no fun. And I personally think that if you can find the joy even when you’re not having fun, (probably easier for parents when it comes to their kids), you will eventually start having fun! And this is a skill to have in life.
So the next time you find your inner yogi, lover, or even foodie in a bit of a slump, just take a moment, find samastitihi, and rekindle that joy that you’ve felt before and start enjoying life again.
Queenie’s yoga journey began in 2005 when her brother introduced her to hot yoga and she instantly fell in love. Born in Hong Kong she moved to Toronto, Canada when she was only a toddler. After graduating from university in 2007, she wanted to do some soul-searching and decided to make the move back to Hong Kong to rediscover her roots. Since then, she’s lived in and traveled to many different cities throughout Asia, learned to open her heart to strangers, and expanded her yoga practice to many other lineages. In 2011, she took the next step in her yoga journey and got her yoga teaching certification in Toronto, and then returned to Asia to teach yoga and to started her own company. Now she resides with her husband and feisty little miniature schnauzer in Atlanta, where they continue to practice yoga together. With all the moving around, she’s found that yoga has really helped her stay grounded, flexible (physically and mentally), and sane. She believes that as long as you try and have fun with what you’re doing, everything will be alright. “Attitude is everything.”