Point of Fun

Last summer I started my yoga teacher studies with 200h training in Yoga Thailand. Each of us gave lessons to other trainees, and finally we had an exam where everyone taught a 60 minute led class. The best feedback I got did not come from the test evaluator, but from one of my fellow yoginis who attended my class: “You were so much fun when teaching! This is exactly the type of class I would like to go to after a shitty day at work”. I must admit that I used jokes and humor to compensate what I lacked as a teacher and it worked.

This feedback really got me thinking. If you can spice up an authentic well-being practise with fun, and make people more receptive to whatever you’re trying to convey even after a hard day, why couldn’t you spice up already a fun experience on its own with some real authentic well being elements (instead of just purely imaginary content)? I think you start to see where I am heading with this one. In my opinion, authentic content can be just the lemon in a gin some simple game mechanics need in order to become engaging for longer periods of time. Assuming the content and mechanics are nicely married together, obviously.

Even though some people tell me you can’t really combine a game and meditative practise, loyal to my personality I’ve decided to disagree! Fun gets us to the right mood, for example time based mechanics and tasks stress the importance of repetition and regularity, helping friends connects us to wider context of our lives, and so on. There are actually many social games features that fit perfectly together with philosophy of yoga and meditative practise!

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Point of Yoga

One of my business partners asked me a few weeks ago: “So what’s the point of this yoga?”. As the first game of Gajatri Studios is a yoga themed social game, I decided there is value in discussing this topic also in the company blog from my personal point of view. By the way, I aim to blog about the background of the game during its development (starting in January 2012).

Yoga is part of eastern, or Indian, cultural and philosophical heritage, one of seven systems of Indian philosophy to be exact. Eastern and western mind however understand the word philosophy in a different way. Philosophy in eastern context is quite practical, experience based concept compared to how we westerners interpret the word. But don’t get me wrong, with experience based I do not mean that yoga equals physical pose practise. Poses are only one part of the “tool box” that yoga as a wider framework offers.

With these eye glasses on, yoga is an experience driven philosophy that offers practical tools enabling direct experience both with ourselves and the world. Whooh..sounds complicated! But actually, it’s not. Normally, we (meaning you and me) do not see things as they are, but rather as we and our conditioned minds (by society, parents, friends, past experiences etc) are. Not a direct, but indirect experience. Also our minds can be quite talkative and busy all day long, jumping from one thought to the next.

Continuous yoga practise, whether asanas, meditation or pranayama, enables us to have a calmer mind, better touch to our core and to the world around: what’s really going on. What’s real stuff, and what’s just labels you have created with your imaginative mind (good, bad, lousy, nice etc). My view is that without some sort of regular meditative practise, one’s well-being is relatively short lived despite how well you eat or physically train your body. Mind and human senses work together relentlessly and 24/7 mostly towards restless and fearful directions, as that is their evolutionary purpose.

So the point of yoga…to me it is to have a direct experience of who I am, why am I here and what’s going on around me. To be able to rest in, and work from, that experience and knowledge. Mind in my control, and not the other way around.

What is needed is willingness to engage into this daily game of yoga/meditative practise, and seeing where it can take you! To the direction that I point out? Can’t really say, that is the beauty of it, this is something you can discover on your own only. With or without your suit, you can do it, that is the point!

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