I often offer up “yoga playtime” in my vinyasa classes, free space and time for students to explore postures with levity. Flash back to childhood playtime – would yoga be a jungle gym, the game of Life or a stack of retro blocks?

One thing is for sure: yoga is not about passing “go” the most, dominating record books or blasting away all competition. Instead, yoga is a game of dominos. Each unique piece is part of the cohesive set. The point is building connections; the play can involve both meticulous construction and tumbling down.

On July 11th 2014, 808 yogis lined up in Portland, Ore.’s Pioneer Courthouse Square for the longest domino chain of practitioners ever recorded. The Great Namaste, hosted as part of the annual World Domination Summit and led by Portland instructor Jill Knouse, was an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records greatest yoga chain. Volunteers laid out the multicolored mats into the design of a globe, filling the entire square. Once the mats filled extra yogis even spread out beyond the borders of the event and joined in. The yogi on mat number one began with tadasana and, one at a time, the next 807 followed in a wave of mountain poses. Four waves of postures later a collective breath and cheer marked the record-breaking moment.

But as event organizer Tyler Tervooren said at the outset: “The Great Namaste is not about yoga in the same way being a carpenter is not about swinging a hammer. It’s about building something. It’s about seeing your own contribution to something greater than yourself. And it’s about seeing the value of that contribution.”

The Great Namaste will go down in the record books because it achieved its goal and blasted away the competition. But even this greatest chain of yogi dominos wasn’t about the win. Yoga is a game of dominos – it’s about building connections, one posture or idea links right into the next; it’s about careful construction and just as much about the wobble and fall; ultimately, it’s about many little pieces coming together into something bigger. The 808 little pieces lined up into a cohesive “something greater,” both meticulously constructed and blissfully light hearted. Like the levity of youth, that final breath in Pioneer Square had a distinct sense of playtime.

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