Last week the first official class of my new company JEM YOGA NYC began. I was nervous at first, bur once I got into the flow of leading the class it felt like I was soaring. I was back at it and had that feeling of “this is what I’m meant to do.” And the best part? Em was right there with me.
Em is used to going to classes and is also used to doing yoga with me at home. I think in her mind it was just a normal day! She went with the flow, did some poses, joined me for savasana and proudly said, “Bye Bye Yoga!” as I put away the little yoga mat I had brought.
I felt so much emotion when I got home last week after class, but the biggest one of all was pride for my baby. I put my passion for teaching on hold for a while when she came into this world, and to come back now feeling like my heart is more full than ever? I just feel so blessed!
I hadn’t taught kids in quite some time when I began teaching a few classes at a preschool last month. I was rusty and a little awkward and felt like it went… okay.
This morning I taught again and I felt my confidence in teaching surfacing again. It by no means went perfectly but there was this moment.
It was when I walked into the last classroom and a girl was screaming crying and the kids were running and it was so loud. I sat down and began taking deep breaths, and something miraculous happened; the kids got silent and followed.
We took a few breaths together and it was quiet and calm. And THAT moment, the brief pause between the lesson plan and the noise and the crying and the excited screaming and the running and the diving hugs, THAT is why I love sharing yoga with kids.
If you watched a class it wouldn’t look like a clean and tidy yoga practice that’s tied in a bow. It would look a little messy and loud. But I’ve taught long enough to know that kids are sponges taking it all in in their own way. And what a gift for me today to bring them a moment of calm without saying a word.
Today I got in a yoga practice and it felt so good. I was able to do this because of Emily’s fascination with shoes. You see, she spent most of this time off to the side trying to get on her sneaker!
She wasn’t the least bit frustrated or annoyed as she did this over and over again, even though she never actually got her sneaker on. She was just content to be in the moment practicing something. Isn’t it amazing how focused a child can be when exploring something they are interested in?
Emily reminded me of one of the Niyamas or observances in yoga called Santosha. Santosha means finding satisfaction in exactly who we are and where we are without wanting to change anything.
I am grateful that today we both got in a yoga practice. I got in my yoga through the poses (asana) and Emily got in her yoga by practicing her one-pointed focus (dharana) during her shoe-putting-on investigation!
Emily usually holds my hand and brings me with her as she wanders, but this past week she decided it was time to walk out on her own. She had the time of her life wandering around Riverside Park while Romeo (our dog) and I followed close behind. Her joy was infectious and my heart was exploding.
She is my most special teacher. Here are some lessons she has taught me.
Every night as Em is winding down she does laps around the apartment. It’s like she’s walking off all her remaining energy. Tonight she kept grabbing my finger and leading me around with her. Even though I slept a lot last night I still felt so tired. I think that never ending tired feeling is just motherhood.
Anyway, even though all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and not move, and even though my mind kept wandering to the veggie burger and fries I would order once she went to bed, every time she grabbed my finger I walked with her. I reminded myself that she won’t always want to walk with me. She won’t always want to bring me along into her world with her.
So, I thought- as long as she wants to bring me into her world, I will be there walking beside her.
Making these yoga videos with Em is becoming harder these days, mainly because she always notices my phone recording and wants to grab it! She’s walking now which adds a whole new level of fun. Here were my yoga attempts last week.
It has been a true blessing this past year to introduce Emily to yoga. It has been amazing watching her grow and become an active part of my yoga practice. Here is a compilation of our yoga playtimes together. She’s the best yoga buddy I could ever ask for!
This morning as I tried to brush my teeth Emily repeatedly tried to grab the toilet wand. When I attempted to make breakfast she discovered how to open the kitchen drawers. Then, when I tried to sit down and pay bills, in a split second she grabbed Romeo’s rather large water bowl off the kitchen table (which had been placed there because she’s always trying to spill it) and she poured it all over her head.
This all happened before 8am.
I’m equally exhausted and amused! If this is only the beginning of her toddler shenanigans I can only imagine what is coming next. Oh how tired I am and oh how much I love her!