Yoga with Kids

By adhering to the following prerequisites, you too can have a complete yogic experience with your children.

 

image from NPR

image from NPR

  • Start by choosing your mat.  When your children see you roll out yours, they will immediately clamor for one of the remaining mats (tip: be sure to have only one of each color and one less than the number of children).
  • Place yours in an open area, free from obstacles and other people.  Your children will fill in the void.
  • Set your yoga strap at your side, easily accessible during your practice.  Your children will be able to grasp it easily as well to whip each other.
  • Don’t forget yoga blocks – in case you need extra support during a stretch.  Or a teething ring or projectile.
  • Clear your mind.  Your children will ping around like ping-pong balls no matter what venomous thoughts you entertain.
  • Lie in repose.  Ignore that fact that a toddler’s thick skull could sucker punch you in the gut at any moment.
  • Oh, and be sure to slide your sandals off before lying down, but keep them close by.  Your particularly feisty child may need a missile to launch at you for not arranging her not-right-color mat properly.
  • Range through the poses at your own pace – not that of your instructor.  You need to adjust for puppies crawling through your downward dog, snakes wriggling under your bridge, monkeys hanging onto your tree.
  • Accept your body as it is.  Don’t force the sore muscles of your shoulder or your tight hamstrings.  Your children will do that when they knock into you, sending your warrior tumbling.
  • Move your yoga practice outside for inspiration and variety.  Tell your children they may play nearby if they tire of yoga.  They will tire of yoga, but will stay right by your side, taunting and pleading for snacks and your attention.
  • Scan your body for areas of tension.  Notice the up-tick in your blood pressure as your children attempt acrobatics off the couch onto the yoga mats.
  • Do not abandon your practice before it is finished.  You came here to find inner peace and relax, dammit.

An Imperfect Porpoise

Balance.

The very word makes me twitch.

It’s supposed to be peaceful, magical, that neutral territory where the heart sings and your psyche lies in savasana.

That is, if you can attain it.

I’m forever striving.  I want to show that boulder who’s boss, shoving it up the mountain for good.  But if it doesn’t roll back over me on its way back down, it’s got so much momentum it just goes over the other side.

I lamented to my therapist that I just want to conquer depression.  I want to beat it into submission and be done with it.  I like closure.

2011-03-25-the-epiphany-of-sisyphus

Depression is not an open-close case.  It is full of decisions and appeals, a juggernaut of self-imposed juries.

For every bright spot, there is a chance of dark days.  For every low point, there is an arc of highs.  And sometimes it’s all over the road like a reading of the Richter scale.

Unfortunately (or not), this same concept applies to life.

Whether I like it or not, I have to take the good with the bad, the ups with the downs, the victories with defeat.

While Sisyphus has been the poster-child of my life as of late, a friend tried to introduce me to someone new. She said,

Here’s to imperfect progress–a gradual improvement of mood and attitude despite life’s natural ups and downs.

I’m trying to frame this in terms of my buddy Sisy and his vertical hangout.  I can’t.  A long, gradual slope comes to mind, maybe strewn with boulders along the way.  Or maybe it’s like that part of the trail where you hit the tree line and think the summit is just over the next hump, but it stretches on and on and up and up.  The view improves, but the trek is still arduous.

Rolling this new idea of imperfect progress around in my head, the words transmuted themselves into ‘an imperfect porpoise’, which not only made me laugh, but kind of fits.  I’m happy, but I don’t chirp like Flipper; can’t.  Some days I flit about the surface, skimming the waves, others I plunge into the depths.  And all the time, I like to turn words and things on their heads and see what comes about.  Porpoises are intelligent; I wonder if they over think things as much as I do.

What IS the porpoise of life, anyway?

What IS the porpoise of life, anyway?

“An Imperfect Porpoise” is my modern-day myth.  It is about the ever-elusive balance.  The disgruntled admission that this is what I need to seek, rather than domination or perfection.  And maybe that a moving target has less chance of being flattened by a boulder ;-).  Hey, old habits die hard.  This new guy and I are just getting acquainted.  Sisy and I go way back.  This whole life is imperfect anyway, right?

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