A month or two ago, the excellent Jörgen Christiansson visited us at Downtown Yoga Shala, for an entire week. We did a lot of yoga, but we also were able to gain a lot of verbal wisdom from his lectures, as he has lived a yogic life. One of the stories Jörgen told had a particular impact on me, as I’ve found it pretty much applicable to everything. He described a day in which some flies got into his studio, and all of the students in Mysore class that morning kept batting at the flies, losing their focus, and generally not focusing on their practice. Finally, Jörgen told them, “stop bothering the flies!”
So, of flies and children. Sometimes I am not able to get to the studio, or I am working on a sequence at home to teach in the studio. Now, I look at those inspirational yoga photos that are all over Facebook from time to time, and about 1 out of every 50 features an adorable child following along with their mother or father, practicing something beautiful. Some have their children plastered to them, but the child is doing yoga too! My 5 year old twins are not that way. I’ve tried to do yoga with them, but they horse around like crazy. One of mine, she likes to ham it up; pretend to fall over, “slip”, do everything in opposites. The other just wants to chat.
I’ve tried sneaking to the living room to practice, long before anyone should wake up. But as soon as I am in a groove, my kids sense it and magically awaken (usually my chief conspirator who gets so silly). This week, I remembered about the flies, and when my girl wanted to be with me, I got her a mat to use, laid it down next to mine, and just did my thing. Sometimes I gave her a little advice, but by and large, I let her slip, and giggle, and use all her wrong arms and legs. You know what? It worked out. A little of the time, she did it right. A lot of the time she just had fun. And I wrote my sequence, and practiced, and felt good about it. Maybe someday my kids will love yoga, maybe they won’t. But, they’ll remember that I love it, and they’ll remember that they had fun. I am going to “stop bothering” my children, at least when it comes to yoga.