Lessons in mother-daughter yoga


Just back from spring break in California: wine country, NoCal coast, topped off by a few days in San Francisco to get a city fix. As a former city girl who still moves a bit too fast, I'm always surprised at the brief adjustment period it takes to get back into city mode. Walking properly to flow with pedestrian traffic, being hyper aware of my surroundings, losing some personal space. It's definitely a different pace than here in Big Sky Country, and I will confess, like a little shot of adrenaline too.

By mid-week I was craving a longer yoga practice than the sightseeing agenda of the previous few days had allowed. But husband was working, and I had 7 year old with me. And then it occurred to me: she's 7. Why not take her to class? So off we went, to the nearest studio to our hotel. I wasn't sure what they would say...I honestly couldn't remember if anyone ever brought their child to one of my DC studio's classes. As soon as we walked in and felt the warm welcoming vibe, and saw the brief surprise at my request transform into big smiles at the idea, I knew we picked the right place.

We heard the sounds of the city below us as we snuggled into our second-floor yoga oasis. This was exactly the kind of 'urban oasis' feeling I had worked to achieve at my DC studio. I think it also felt so familiar because they had the exact same IKEA lights we had, a quirky detail that resonated. The class was a perfectly paced flow. At first it was challenging for me not to correct 7 year old's form or to help her understand how to get into some poses...so I had to practice letting go, and keeping my yoga teacher thoughts and hands to myself. Worst case scenario, she falls (she did), best case scenario she plays with the movement in her own way (she did that too). All good. At one point towards the end of class, when we were rolling up and down with our knees tucked into our chest, she gleefully squeals: Mom, this is breaking my spine! And I dissolved into a fit of giggles that felt so, so wonderful. From that point on, I don't think I stopped smiling at the joy of sharing something so dear to me with someone so dear to me.

The next day, she came with me when I taught a class at the Athleta San Francisco store. She started off with paying attention and fully participating. Then suddenly, towards the middle of class, she left her mat. Every once in awhile I caught a glimpse of her in the clothing displays. When I asked her after class if she didn't like it, she looked surprised and said matter-of-factly, Mom I loved it. I was just done. I'm not saying us grown-ups should just march out of class when we're done...but the reminder to honor our limits, and the wisdom of a 7 year old, brought back the previous day's mother-daughter, yoga-induced smile.

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