I want to share a story with you today that I think you might like 🙂
In 1998, when I was in college in New York, my friend Marie Sophie and I decided that we were going to try yoga.
We found this little place on W 12th street called Integral Yoga Institute, it was really friendly, had lots of wall to wall carpet and smelled a bit different to what I was used to. It was probably the incense.
We did our class, very awkwardly, as you do when it is your first ever yoga class. The sequence was simple, but all new to me and I did not feel flexible or wonderful, until, we got to Shavasana.
The final resting pose.
What I experienced there was the entry point to a whole new world. As the teacher guided us through visualizations in the meditation I experienced my first ever moment of complete clarity. My mind was completely clear and my head felt lighter, my body was in complete and full relaxation, weightless, I couldn’t feel my physical being for those minutes and it was like the best trip ever.
I was hooked.
I had faith that I would eventually be able to put myself in the positions of the yoga poses, even though the path in some cases was long. It wasn’t a physical thing for me per se, it was more than that, it was for me, an agnostic, a deeply spiritual moment in my body.
Learning that I was able to get so deeply relaxed, clear my head and relax my body was a revelation to me. Imagine the possibilities.
I did then and I do now have poses on the mat that I resist and try to work my way around. Then it was locust pose, right now it’s most deep backbends. And what I learned was that taking my yoga off the mat, using my breath and my body to work through difficult situations off the mat made everything more joyful. Like in parenting for example.
Do I ever do yoga off the mat when dealing with some things with my kids.
Like toddler tantrums.
Like when they fight over who ate the imaginary ice cream or whether someone looked out their window.
Like when you are exhausted after a long day and they want to tell you a story.
Like when your child is struggling and you don’t have the obvious answer.
That evening in New York many years ago I learned an invaluable lesson, that I can create space around most things so that I can see them from different perspectives and stay focused and relaxed when I am challenged.
Your thing might not be yoga, it might be something else entirely. But I bet it involves your body and your breath, so I would love for you to think about what way you use your body and your breath to make space, take care of yourself and be a better and more present parent. The ripple effect of that is huge. When you live and parent with love, it flows through your children and into your community. Try it, you will see 🙂
Marie Sophie did not like it as much, she ended up with a headache and continued her quest for her path to zen, not through yoga. She did find her way though 🙂