Last Friday I shared an article with you about the Summer Solstice, its significance, and my personal experiences with it. I did end up getting to participate in the 108 Sun Salutations Challenge, and after a long day of a yard sales and shopping for maternity yoga pants (I’ve finally outgrown my pre-pregnancy yoga pants), I got to share the practice with my 5-year old son, Alden. As you can see, he fits nicely into his Kidding Around Yoga shirt…I, however, have yet to have a maternity one produced. I wanted to share with you this very different experience of practicing with BOTH of my children, as many of you parents may either have children in yoga classes, are yogis yourselves, or make a point to practice as a family.
As a mother, I love to share time with my son, especially doing things we both love. It is a particular moment of joy when my child gets to share in something I love as much as I love yoga. Same goes for my husband when Alden shows interest in rugby, and any parent who has a hobby their child embraces. Thankfully, Alden was very willing to practice with me once he realized we would be outside, he could play at the park afterward, and, on that day, he was pretending to “hunt” for flying saucers. So I packed our yoga gear, he packed his “flying saucer catching gear,” and we headed to the park. It was a HOT day and we were graced by the presence of a perfect breeze during the entire practice. I even made an all-natural bug spray using essential oils (I used TerraShield, Peppermint, and Lavender with 6 oz. distilled water) to share so we weren’t plagued by bugs this year! I was on Cloud Nine, having him set his mat up next to mine among a field of other yogis.
It wasn’t the quietest of practices, as he’s quite chatty, and Kids’ Yoga classes are usually NOT quiet events. Quietness is harder to teach children than the postures! During the introduction time, the instructor was talking about leaving the past behind, and Alden shouted: “just like the Israelites, Mommy!” Can you tell someone just attended Vacation Bible School? Either way, the message was universal and everyone attached their own meaning and connection to the practice that day.
As we moved through our first few rounds of Surya Namaskar A, I guided him with my words as he watched my every move. We warmed up slowly and I felt a few pangs of pain in my pregnant belly. I remember thinking, “I’ll be lucky to make it through 21 of these!” After those first few he stopped talking and just watched a little, and my body just took over.
It was amazing and humbling. You see, I have had a regular practice now for over three years. That is an accomplishment for me. Specifically, I’ve practiced Sun Salutations as my warm-up (and in teaching hundreds of Kids’ Yoga classes) for over two of those years. Patanjali tells us in Sutra I.14: “Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih.” Or translated as: “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break, and in all earnestness.”
At first, I found having a daily practice difficult, and like most Americans, wanted instant results. But after practicing with patience, devotion, and faith, I saw a difference—physically, mentally, and spiritually. Last Saturday was a day my patience was put to the test (taking a child to an adult practice), my devotion to my practice during pregnancy looked very different, and my faith in my ability that day was not great. It was beautiful to experience the culmination of a firmly grounded practice move through me during my 54 Sun Salutations. Alden made it through 27, took his time on his “magic carpet” in his own Secret Garden, and then went flying saucer hunting with a friend so I could finish my practice. I found myself overcome with joy as I watched him practice, rest. As I rested in my final meditation, I thought about how beautiful to have both my children (one by choice, other by default) sharing in this special time and moving in their own special ways.
As a Kidding Around Yoga teacher, I love helping children discover yoga, mindfulness, and how their practice can change with and fit into their changing lives. As a teacher and a parent, I love to share the stress management tools that yoga offers. I encourage you to explore what your children are learning—if you aren’t already a practitioner—let them teach you, or find an opportunity to teach and practice with them. It is a joy unlike any other.