It is more than a little ironic that Yoga is the activity I turn to on a daily basis to cope with the ups and downs of being a parent. The more I think about it, the more I realize YOGA is the perfect metaphor for parenting.
I can almost hear each reader’s audible ugh as I type this post. YOGA….
Ya either love it, hate it, OR BOTH. Some of you haven’t tried it yet. Some of you never will. Kind of sums up having children does it?
I can’t recall exactly when my love affair with yoga began, but let me assure you; it definitely was NOT love at first sight. Truth be told, my first date with yoga TOTALLY sucked.
First of all, before the date even started, Yoga wanted me to be quiet-STRIKE 1- I like to talk. Correction: I LOOOVE talking. Besides, how are we going to know if we like each other if we don’t talk?
Our love connection was off to a very rocky start.
Next, YOGA proceeded to tell me to “be still”. Seriously? Who the hell does this YOGA think he is? Doesn’t he realize I’m a mom & dishes don’t wash themselves? I’ve got things to do. Furthermore, when I am still…I start thinking. I think too much…waay toooo much. Strike 2.
The final strike came when Yoga wanted me to set an intention. An intention for what? Staying alive? Fine. My intention was pretty much to try super hard not to throw up or pass out OR die a heaping hot sweaty mess in the middle of all of these toned and tan & oddly serene strangers.
Ok…you win YOGA. I intend to survive this class.
As it turns out, I not only survived the first date; I came back for more.
YOGA and I proceeded to “date” on and off for the next few years. We even broke up a few times (my decision), before I realized that I really missed it..and loved it….and NEEEEEEEEEEEDED IT.
So now we are back together…at least for the time being.
Anyway, I digress. My point was to tell you how lessons learned in YOGA mirror that of my experience in parenting.
YOGA ASKS THAT WE:
- Show up. Most days, making it onto your mat is the hardest part.
- Set an intention to guide your practice. Intentions are unique and change on a daily basis depending on your child’s sugar intake & the amount of caffeine you have ingested.
Today, I want my children to be responsible, compassionate, passionate about learning, and kind. Tomorrow I intend to not screw them up too much. By Wednesday, my intention is usually not to throw up, pass out or die trying.
- Focus inward…. How does the vision I have of myself, others and the world shape my choices as a parent. How am I reacting to their successes & failures? What parts of my own childhood am I replicating or running from and why?
- Rest. It is a sign of strength. I repeat..RESTING IS ALWAYS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, never a sign of weakness.
- Be flexible. The more rigid you are, the more it’s gonna hurt.
- Focus on small daily progress. The practice doesn’t change. You do.
- Don’t look around. When you do, you give your energy away. This is not a competition & comparisons are a not helpful.
- Be present. Looking behind or ahead only distracts you from making the most each moment.
BREATHE…You Only Gott A Breathe…When you feel like giving up (& you will want to), you only gotta breathe. As long as you are breathing and staying present, you are doing it right.
Other lessons from “Yoga”…
- You will never do it perfectly no matter how hard you try. In fact, you will often fall. You will look super weird and awkward…crazy even. The good news is, so does everybody else!
- It sometimes feels like it will never end.
- It’s crowded & sweaty….Everyone else is working hard too.
- Everyone has an opinion about how to do it & people are really quick to point out that you are doing it wrong. Tell them to shut the * up and get back on their own mat.
- You mostly go it alone-unless you count the other awkward, hot sweaty messes around you.
- You may or may not have a teacher. If you do, you are lucky. But keep in mind, he or she is just a guide. …She/He doesn’t have all the answers either.
Namaste…the sweaty hot mess in me honors the sweaty hot mess in you.