I never wanted kids. I never wanted kids and I never wanted to teach Kid’s Yoga. In my teens I was horrified by the over-population of the world, the irresponsibility of “breeders” and the selfishness of adults who wanted to see mini versions of themselves. In my early 20s I found myself ritually annoyed by the stroller take over of my previously hip South Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. And in my late 20s I was convinced that I might explain my situation as “childless by choice”.
Fast-forward 3 years later, and I now have a 2.5 year old little boy and not only am I’m teaching yoga for kids, but also yoga for teens, and yoga for families. Um…. how did that happen? I could tell you, but that might take a while, suffice to say I hit 32, and a whole bunch of everything changed.
For one thing, hormones I was perviously unaware of began raging through by body. I began fantasizing about the kind of family I might have. I started dreaming about doing yoga on the beach in Costa Rica with 2 or 3 naked bronze babies with long blonde dreadlocks crawling all over me. Then in 2005 my first husband Aaron died of cancer, after suffering through that loss for several toxic years, my need for human connection and comfort became a huge priority, and I wanted a baby, badly.
So here I am, seven years later, a mother and a yoga teacher, and loving every minute of it (okay, maybe not every minute – but a lot of the minutes). It’s been said a million times, but it’s true; being a mother is the single most difficult and simultaneously rewarding job there is. It’s hard to a have a real sense of this until you’re in it, but it’s the total truth.
Being a yoga teacher can be challenging for sure – but it isn’t nearly as challenging as being a mother. But I often feel very maternal towards my students, and watching their practices continue to grow is certainly rewarding. So having an opportunity to put the two together has been an amazing experience. I can’t say that I yearn to teach yoga to kids while parenting my own children every day – but yesterday it was truly, truly special.
On Memorial Day I taught my first ever Family Yoga Class at The Yoga Room here on Nantucket – and 6 brave mothers came with their children. Some of the mommies were beginner students, some intermediate and some advanced. Their children ranged in age from infancy to pre-adolescent. Some moms came with one child, some came with two. One was in a car seat, and yet another could already practice full tripod headstand (she’s only 5). Even I had the chance to teach with my 7 year old former step-daughter on the mat right next to me, and my ex-husband arrived at the end of class with our son Griffin. The last time I taught a class with Griffin he was nursing in a sling across my chest.
At first I thought the “class” felt more like loosely organized chaos (there was even a baby throw-up incident on a TYR mat – a first I’m sure), but then before I knew it, 55 minutes had passed and all 15 children and adults in the room were resting serenely in savasana. When class was over grown-ups and children alike looked happy, grounded and open, and my own heart blossomed in gratitude for the chance we all had to practice together.
A couple of hours later the lovely Jessica Douglass tagged me on Facebook in a bunch of photos she had taken of class, and my ex sent me a few photos he was able to capture with his iPhone. I couldn’t help but get teary eyed and rather choked up. Here is a little look inside our class:
Yoga and Parenting both help us mainline compassion straight to the heart. I feel very bless to be both a mother and a teacher. Many thanks to all of those of you who have encouraged me to teach the Dharma Kids, Strong Girls, and Family Yoga classes. I wouldn’t have done it if you hadn’t pushed me.