By: Shawn “Bean” Martin, E-RYT 500, YACEP
Sunstone FIT at Preston Town Crossing in Plano
I recently got a survey comment that I really enjoyed: “Bean was one of the most excellent instructors I’ve ever practiced with at Sunstone. He brought humor to the mat, and was gentle at the same time.” I would like to point out, after I wrangle my ego back under my hat, that I recall that particular class, and it was not, to my recollection, gentle. People were huffing and puffing, falling out, flailing. But as I stood in the foyer after class, I saw so many smiles. So much sweat. But also, so much joy, contentment, and community.
Learn what is to be taken seriously, and laugh at all the rest.
Herman Hesse (excerpt from Steppenwolf)
I know that when I crack a joke in class and can make my class laugh, they’re not taking the class too seriously. They are being snapped back to the present moment instead of thinking about what they should be doing or what they should look like in the front mirror. Getting people out of their own heads into their bodies and lives is what Sunstone is all about.
What is truly serious?
• Your health
• Your family
These things are serious and require attention-but we shouldn’t mistake “seriousness” for something like rigidity or austerity. Even in our approach to the most important things in our life, we can still have a little fun (I hope the IRS likes my colorful, crayon-scribbled 1040 this year!) And do not also confuse “humor” as knee-slapping hilarity—think of humor as the ability to admit to ourselves “Well, whatever I just did was ridiculous…I’m going to try it again” or “Okay, I definitely can’t do that right now…maybe there’s something just a little bit smaller I can work on right now.”
The work we do in our classes is tough–whether we are sweating it out in 98.6 degrees or working hard with our kettle bells swings, we have to be able to work towards sustainable change that exists on a long timeline, not on a timeline where the work finishes after this rep or this particular workout. We often remark around the studio that we should be training for tomorrow and not today. Humor allows us to keep our eye on that prize: I might not look as good as I normally do in this asana or movement, but at least I still look better than Bean does… Humor allows us to cope with the idea that maybe the workout wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be for today, but I’m willing to swallow my pride enough to come back tomorrow and try it all again.
Thanks for taking the time to read this—it was a pleasure meeting you. Be sure to keep an eye out for my blog posts over the next few months where I will be covering specific ideas for helping you to find the humor in your practice.
Bean’s blog can be found at www.sunstonefit.com/blog