Posted by: Joyce T | 7 June 2010

What my baby teaches me about yoga

I’ve been studying yoga for about 5 and a half years now. It’s been a beautiful journey, but in many ways I still feel I’m just getting started.  For me I want to embrace the entire 8 limbs of yoga and it is as much a spiritual and mental experience for me as a physical one.  And therefore this frames the thoughts I’m sharing.

I practiced yoga through about the middle of my 8th month of pregnancy before I became too awkward and tired to do most of the asanas.  After the baby came, I used yoga to start to get back to my body and find out what had become of it, how it had changed, and what that now meant.  Now as my son turns 7 months old, I find myself thinking again about my practice in light of watching my son.

My son is just beginning to crawl; he chased after me and the vacuum cleaner today with fierce tenacity.  And he’s hauling himself into standing position using anything on which he can get purchase – tables, toys, furniture etc.  He falls too.  A lot.  And he gets right back up and tries again.  Yes he gets frustrated and I get that angry call for help when he’s stuck or tired of trying, but what’s amazing is that throughout this journey of discovery of his physical person, he does everything without judgment and without questioning whether he is capable of doing the things he sees others doing.  He has not begun to limit his world.  Of course he also has that annoying baby trait of perfect flexibility – he chews on his toes with aplomb! And I want to be like him.  Sure it’d be nice to be able to raise my foot up over my head, but what I really admire is his mental approach and his serenity in approaching new physical limits.  I appreciate that he knows when to stop and when to push – not always but most of the time, and that he knows how to fall (in slow motion) and that mostly he laughs at himself and doesn’t take it all too seriously.

I want to be more like my son in how I approach yoga, but I also want that approach for life in general.  I hope he can hold on to this approach for a long time.  One last thing, perhaps the most important is this: I want to help him hold onto that outlook too.   What a precious gift he shouldn’t have to lose.

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