Laying on my yoga mat, breath heavy, body sweaty, tears rolling and filling my ears. Confusion sweeps my mind. Not knowing why or how this emotion is pouring out of me. It feels as though I’ve unlocked vessels and opened a storm I can’t stop. Cathartic, exhausting, and rejuvenating. All I can think is, “What is going on with me?!”
I had just taken part in my first Buti Yoga class, a combination of Asana practice, primitive movement, body shaking, plyometrics, and loud tribal music, in a room bursting with contagious energy, sweat, and smiles. This wild bunch of elements, created a space for me to just let everything go--self judgement, comparison, anxiety--and have true fun.
In the past, I’ve watched my husband come back from mountain biking with a beaming smile, high on energy. I’ve felt jealous of him having this fun outlet. I had rigid thinking around what fun has to be. It has to be competitive, a sport, and I need to be good at it to take part--the perfectionist in me shining through. Deep down I knew the truth was that I was terrified to step into this unknown territory. You can’t perfect fun so how do I get fun “right?”
I often hear Dr. Brad Reedy on his podcasts speaking about connecting with your inner child. I tell myself, “Yep, I do that. Box checked.” I even use these terms when advising parents and speaking about the Evoke philosophy. I used to believe Dr. Reedy was suggesting that to be connected with your younger self, create connection to past events and draws parallels to how you show up and interact today. While this may be part of it, I now attempt to connect to my whole inner child, each and every part. Not just the more serious, large events, or negative relationships, but instead, my younger self’s loves, passions, and sense of adventure. In that yoga class, I did just that. I felt it through my entire being, my young, vibrant, dancing self, unleashed!
I began my journey at Evoke as a field staff. Working with awkward and uncomfortable teens, I thought I couldn’t be the only one with unease stepping into fun. And, I soon realized the Evoke program allows for walls built outside of wilderness to dissolve. It provides a space safe for vulnerability. A space to step into the unknown and the uncomfortable--and the fun.
I now work within admissions at Evoke, and talking with parents daily, I am often asked, “What will they be doing for fun out there?” I hear in their voices a hope for their child to seek out their playful side again. How fun shows up in the field is magical! With Evoke’s nomadic model we have minimal possessions and limited distractions in the field. There is no technology and only the equipment we can fit and carry in our packs. The fun we seek out is self-made, through imagination and creativity. The more typical ways you see students have fun is through competitive games of sock hockey, whiffle ball, TV tag, dawgs, coyotes, etc. These games are versions of sports popular at home. However, they differ in that the kiddos have to create their equipment, the external pressure of spectators isn’t a factor, there is no reward or penalty for the result of the game, and this is their only focus for that time. Similar to my yoga class, they are able to play for fun and just for themselves. The physicality, team energy, and healthy outlet allows for a break from the more serious work in the field. Though often these games bring up emotions and processing after.
Fun is also seen in less conventional ways through cooking, hair washes, therapeutic shakes, blowing up a flame, rain dancing, putting up a shelter in a rain storm, chess, yoga, freestyle Friday, and so much more. With our limited resources and distraction, you actually find fun in tasks. Cooking dinner is almost a two-hour job, providing time for indulgence, community, and conversation. Hair washes don’t have the luxury of a shower head and instead require another student to help you out with pouring the water for you, navigating how to be less dirty by the end or simply relishing the cool water soothing you on a warm dessert day.
At Evoke, fun is a necessity in the field--and the field provides an abundance of it! Quickly, I’m realizing, everyday life does too! It doesn’t have to look a certain way or fit certain criteria. It is personal, and seeking out what feels fun for you is a layer of uncovering your Self. Needless to say, I go to Buti Yoga four times a week now.