This weekend I attended the Mid Atlantic USA Yoga Championships this year as a spectator, not a participant, and I brought my children along for the event. We drove an hour and a half to Northern Virginia, and sat over 4 hours watching some amazing yogis. That’s a lot of time sitting around. My boys are 12 and 8 years old and I am sure they would have rather spent their Sunday afternoon doing a variety of other things. I was a yogi before they were born, when I was pregnant I practiced yoga, we did mommy and baby yoga classes, kids classes, now they practice Bikram Yoga with me. So I guess you could say we are a yoga family.
Many of our friends participated in the Regional Championship. Among then is Eddie Hall, who took first place for Maryland in the Men’s Division, and will be going to the National Championship in New York this year. My son Aidan who is 8, met Eddie a few months ago at a holiday pot luck at the Bikram Yoga studio in Hampden, where my boys were the only kids in attendance. Aidan took to Eddie immediately and they started contorting their bodies into some crazy advanced poses. Eddie can put his leg behind his head as easily as some people can yawn. Aidan is working on this and with glee was trying to contort his little body into the pose. The day of the Championship, when Eddie completed his routine Aidan cheered and clapped so hard I thought his hands would fall off! We saw so many amazing yogis, but I could tell the very long day of sitting, was wearing on the boys, but they never complained or asked, when are we leaving. I even thought to myself, maybe I shouldn’t have brought them. Just this weekend, while talking to a mom friend about some art events in our city and she said, her children weren’t interested in going to water ballet performance in Patterson Park so she didn’t take them. I actually took my boys to see Fluid Movement a few years ago. They said it was weird, but they liked it. As a single mother, who doesn’t like to sit around at home, my boys often do not have a choice, we do, we try, we experience. How do you know you won’t like something unless you try it? Green Eggs and Ham, anyone?
There were three children, all girls who participated in the USA Yoga Regional Championship this weekend. One did a demonstration and the other two are off to the Nationals in NYC! My boys have been encouraged by many of my yoga teachers friends to think about participating in the Regional Championships. The night after our long day of sitting and watching yoga, my son Aidan and I spent some times practicing the asanas we saw at the Championship. Most of the poses, Aidan would comment, that’s easy! Kids are so flexible and bendy, they don’t have arthritis, back pain, and most of all they have no fear. Funny, I often hear adults comment on some advanced poses, I’ll never be able to do that, or I can’t do that. Even the poses that Aidan is not able to do, he tries and with enthusiasm often falls out of the pose, while laughing. When I fall out of a pose, I sometimes mutter a curse word to myself. I am grateful my son reminds me to fall and laugh, what a wonderful lesson for adults. Falling can be a gift, when you fall, do so with grace. Laugh it off and try again.
I’m so proud that my children embrace the idea of trying new things. New foods, new experiences, going places that are not just typical fun zone made for kids places. I hope this contributes to an open mind and heart in the way they see the world as adults. Being a yogi isn’t just about contorting your body in crazy positions, or meditating. Being a yogi means being open and accepting to the world around you. It’s about loving and respecting yourself and everyone you meet.
So be open, try something new and have fun in the process!