Family

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A special place in my heart lights up when students (of my generation) bring their mother or father to one of my classes for the first time. I like to imagine the son/daughter has been talking so much about their yoga practice and it’s benefits that the mother/father just had to come see what it’s all about. This week I saw many of these child/parent pairings and was moved by each one. Especially a mother, daughter duo attending my Wednesday afternoon Slow Flow class.

Daughter is a regular. Mom is fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy. We chatted before class about the importance of taking it easy, resting when necessary, staying hydrated, etc… During class I watched as Daughter helped Mom to get more comfortable, showed her modifications, and encouraged her to take child’s pose. When it was time for Savasana the two held hands. I was choked up as I saw them laying together and was immediately reminded of a quote I once read from TKV Desikachar; “Yoga isn’t about bending your body like a pretzel, it’s about how well you treat your family.” The truth of this statement right there in front of me, holding hands, united.

I think a majority of us come to yoga as a physical practice and are pleasantly (or kicking and screaming) surprised by the depth yoga has to offer. If you’re a regular practitioner, have you noticed how doing well for your body ripples into other areas of your life too? When I first began my practice I wanted to get in shape, then I started eating better, then I started meditating, then I started to become more and more aware of my words, thoughts and actions, then I started to like myself more, then I forgave myself for lots of yucky things, then I forgave other people for lots of yucky things, then I began to love more openly, react less, accept more, and now my family reaps these benefits. Granted, this is over a course of many years, but the truth remains that the physical work I began on my mat wasn’t even the point. Getting into wheel, or headstand, or forearm balance, or whatever the hell was never the point. Instead, it was a tool. A gateway. To begin my practice of watchfulness. Of caring about myself. Of loving myself. Of loving others.

When class ended on Wednesday I approached Mom and Daughter to check in with how they were doing (something I do for all my new students). Mom was in tears. Daughter was smiling. Mom said she felt raw, she had released a lot. We hugged. As we hugged I felt her breathe, I felt her heartbeat, and I loved her. Just one more milestone on my yoga path – realizing that ‘family’ doesn’t only mean sharing common ancestry.

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6 responses »

  1. I loved this. So much truth and I feel exactly the same way…. Yoga really does teach us compassion and though I have a long way to go, have come a long way… Love you amber!!!

  2. I so understand the journey and the gift practicing yoga has given me, how it has extended itself outward in my life. I have a peacfulness in my soul that I’ve wanted for so long and wasn’t able to achieve. I’m excited about what my continued growth will bring. I have started to expierence the benifits of the practice of flow, breath, stillness and fueling my body with what nourshes best.

    It’s help me heal internal wounds and approach lifes challenges with different eyes.

    Sincere Love,
    Carla

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