When I first stepped out of my house a few mornings ago, while taking my children to school, I let out a big sigh and said… OH NO, It’s raining again!!! My seven year old son in a voice filled with glee, replied YAY!!!!! It’s raining… I love the rain!!! And I thought for a moment and then thanked my son for reminding me, that your mood is dependent on your attitude. Perhaps the brain cells that we lose as a parent from lack of sleep from late night feedings and 24 hour flues that have their onset at 2am, with projectile vomit are replenished with our children’s wisdom. We are given back small gifts of insight from these little people, not yet jaded by the world around them. My children are very much an influence in every aspect of my life. Pablo Neruda in his “Ode to Age” says that “ All old people carry in their eyes a child, and children at times observe us with the eyes of wise ancients.”
My attitude adjustment was temporary that day because I caught myself again in a mode of negative thinking at my morning Bikram yoga class, I thought to myself, oh.. I am so tired, today… oh.. it’s just too damn hot in here… and so on… but I remembered my son’s exclamation of YAY! And worked very hard in my head to turn my thoughts around. How lucky I am that I can arrange my work schedule, that I can my practice yoga regularly, it’s supposed to be hot in this yoga room.. isn’t this why I come in the first place?
So as I try to balance the 60 day Bikram Yoga challenge with my children’s Spring Break, I brought my boy ages 11 and 7 to participate in a class. While pregnant with both children, I continued my yoga practice, and as toddlers and young children, they both took yoga classes for kids. My oldest son actually took participated in a summer yoga camp a few years ago.
Honestly, I do yoga sometimes to find me… the woman behind the mother… so having my children in the hot room was a test to the yogi momma. I wanted to allow my children to experience the sweat, strength, balance, concentration, meditation and silence for themselves. I packed extra water, towels, yoga mats, consulted with the yoga teachers on children taking the class, read all the information I could find on the web. Decided that my 7 year old would only participate in the floor series of the class, since children his age do not have fully developed their sweat glands. Withing 5 seconds of experiencing the hot room, both boys, looked at me and said “it’s BURNING in here.” Luckily I also packed an array of electronic devices for them to play with while I completed my practice in the hot room, while they sat not so patiently in the lobby.
Children are very honest, unfiltered, very much aware of right vs. wrong and fairness. So to them, the 105 degree room was ridiculous and simply not fun. And they were quite vocal about it. It has been said that adults can use this hot room to heal, to repair from the physical and psychological wounds of life. Hopefully as children, there do not exist many wounds. Children usually say what they are thinking, if they are angry they scream, if they are sad or hurt, they cry. That is until some adult tells them to be quiet, stop crying, suck it up, etc. I find it ironic in therapy that I feel I am trying to peel away the layers of adulthood and try to help people connect with the child inside of them. To find the truth, the fun, the sheer glee of just being alive. To help them be child-like, not childish. But honestly, what’s so wrong with being childish once in a while. Kids sing, dance, spin, skip, laugh without thinking others will judge them, that is until some adult does begin to judge them.
The afternoon following the failed yoga intervention with my boys, we went to the playground to celebrate a sunny day, finally…. The park was filled with parents, nannies (it was after all Roland Park), and happy, sweaty kids. I waited for a little girl to finish her turn on a swing, and hopped on. I was the only person over 10 years old swinging on the swing. It was wonderful. Try it sometimes, seriously, kids seem to know how to have fun. Imagine what a happy world this would be if we all let go once in a while and remembered what it is like to be wise… like a child.