The joys of having a baby is more than anyone can ever describe, and as a mom of two, myself, I have found that unless you consciously choose to incorporate your little yogi into your practice, we often then choose not to practice at all. And for others the choice is to practice (exercise) without that little ball of joy nearby or incorporated into that very important part of your life. Yoga is a huge part of my life and my family’s life, my son Harper (now four), and my daughter Meredith (now 2) were from day one my little yogi buddies and walking buddies, they did (and still do) everything I do. Because to me, my mindset was my kids were going to be a part of my life, a part of my practice and a part of my studio, I wanted them to know no different, just like some want their kids to learn a certain prayer or family tradition, I wanted my kids to learn to live a holistic-yogic lifestyle from early on.
Like many exercise to me is important, but a mindful practice where it is a part of your lifestyle is even more important. Here are some examples: We all go for a walk (my two dogs and two kids) and we talk about why fresh air is important and how Mother Earth loves that we enjoy her and that we don’t litter(we usually are on a quest to pick it all up) and why that isn’t a good choice. I have taught my kids how to breathe and how they can use their breath to help them in stressful situations. I have a yoga room and my children adore spending time there, we take turns using my reformer, weights, and yoga mat, we teach each other poses, bounce on the bosu and I explain how bouncing is healthy for the lymphatic system and stretching is good for your muscles and mind, and building strength will help you get big and strong like your Momma and Papa.
For some in today’s society the parents may be healthy but they keep that to themselves, for many, eating salad and lean chicken at dinner, but then feeding the rest of the family greasy foods. Or going out for a hike or tending the garden but leaving the kids inside watching T.V. At my house if I want to practice yoga (while my kids are awake) or go for a walk it’s either with them or nothing. And more important than me staying physically fit, is for them to see me take care of myself in all I do and incorporate them into it; so as they get older it’s no different than brushing their teeth, reading books and taking a bath. To them I want it is simply how things have always been, and these skills are skills that can and should be taught by the parents. Now sure they crawl all over me in plank and slide down my back in Downward Dog, and that at times gets to be a little much, but that won’t be forever and yoga to me is more than exercise it’s tapping into the inners self and connecting, isn’t it for you?