*Today’s blog article was written by Whitney, a recent high school graduate and lifelong yogi’s kid*
My mom has practiced yoga for as long as I can remember. When my brother and I were very young, my parents would sneak off to yoga class, leaving us in the care of my grandmother. When my mom became a certified yoga teacher, I got to watch the studio she taught at grow from one room to three store-units, and got to know a lot of the other instructors and their children.
So I guess to that extent, I’ve done yoga for as long as I can remember. I created “classes” out of decks of yoga cards and forced my brother, and then my mom, to be my student. My brother and I ran barefoot around the yoga studio and threw blocks at each other (we were quickly informed that those were NOT for throwing… so we played Jenga with them instead). Growing up around the yoga community has taught me so much, not only about yoga itself (poses, breathing, meditation, etc.), but about how to apply it to my everyday life:
This may sound obvious, but growing up around kids’ and adult yoga, the importance of proper breathing and different breathing techniques were instilled in me from a very young age. I have actually used everything from lion’s breath to bunny breath throughout my childhood and teenage years. I was very active in the theatre program during high school, and I would get extremely anxious before stepping out onstage, worrying about whether I would forget my lines, whether or not the lighting and sound would be correct, even about whether the audience would laugh at my lines. Each time I became worried, I heard my mom’s voice in my head saying, “just breathe”, and I would. Deeply in through my nose and then slowly out through my mouth until I began to calm down.
Again, this may seem quite obvious, but growing up surrounded by yoga and the yoga community, I was taught that a lot of my problems could actually be solved by stretching, instead of taking medicine (or complaining more). Particularly on our 9-hour road trip drives, when I would start to complain about my feet, arms, or other random body part hurting, my mom would just tell me to stretch in the backseat. And, to my annoyance, she was right! Because I started stretching at a young age, I continued to do it as I grew up, and now whenever my back hurts, I’ll do twists and other simple stretches before I take a Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
More important than physical things, however, growing up as a yogi’s kid taught me how to live my life happily and mindfully. Regardless of whether that’s doing something nice for someone in your life, or calming yourself down by coloring in a mandala, growing up around yoga and the yoga community allowed me to develop into the happy, confident college student I am today. I’m sure that without it, I would be a totally different person.
But I can safely say that living my childhood with yoga taught me that it’s okay to mess up and fall down. Whether that’s falling on your face after attempting to do the crow pose, or failing a history test that you thought you aced, it’s normal to slip up. The most important thing, though, is to dust yourself off, stand right back up, and try again.