YOGA AS FAMILY-BUILDING EXERCISE: HOW DID IT AFFECT MY CHILDREN?

Initially my children did not want to hear about yoga. They asked: “But mom, will you become a vegan now? Are you going to be putting on these weird pants now?” I told them I wanted us all to be just as normal as before. And this is when they started understanding the power of yoga as a family-building exercise little by little!

When I came back from my yoga-teacher training and after spending 4 weeks in an ashram (a yoga retreat), with more than 200 hours of yoga behind my back, and just as many hours spent meditating and studying the teachings of yoga, I had changed a little bit.

Fortunately, before going back directly to my little treasures, I stopped in Montreal to reacclimate myself to the modern world. This one smelled of pollution, it was honking hard and loud, and was also filled with hyper-stressed crowds that crossed, grazed but did not look at each other. There was one good thing about it though, and that was the good old Cappuccino accompanied by a Blueberry Muffin. This quick stop allowed me to land back onto earth before the big reunion.

Needless to say, my children quickly noticed the differences in me that were also complimented by my better looking physique; “Mom, you’re louder; Mom, you’re gentler; Mom, you’re smiling more; Yes, Mom, yoga changed you and did so for the better…”

Afterwards they wanted to try it too and they would follow my courses together with the other children. For my daughter it was a love at first sight. She immediately felt the benefits of yoga on her body and mind. She has been coming for over a year now, once a week, to my workshop and has even enrolled in a class on Monday at noon in her school.

I do not accredit all that to yoga, but for a year now I started seeing my daughter truly blossom with much more calm and serenity than before. Believe me, I do not say that for the sake of the article – all those who have known my daughter for several years can testify in that she became much more gentle and tranquillized, despite her 12 years of age and her hormonal ups and downs. Yes, yes, I know, I have yet to see all her true colors …

My son was less excited at the start. He liked it especially when we were doing more difficult postures and he could compete with the others. I am not exaggerating, it was much more about the performance than the relaxation. Although on the last day of a family yoga week he said he wanted to become a Swami (a spiritual master) when he grows up, today his story reverted back to becoming a scientist …

My son’s biggest annoyance had everything to do with being the only boy in yoga class. And in that trail of thought I ask you, reader, why is there no boys or men in yoga classes? This great question will be the object of an article very soon because I do think men are missing out quite a bit on that, as much as all humanity that does not do yoga.

So here we are, a family of yogi, or something of those sorts, but what did yoga really bring to us as one? Here are the 5 notable changes that yoga imposed on my children:

– The awareness of their inner being. They know they have a treasure inside them that belongs only to themselves, a sacred place where they can take refuge at any time, a place where they can recharge themselves with positive energy and love.
– Awareness of their breath and the power of breathing. Through any stress, any emotion and jump, they breathe calmer, deeper, and in full, as they find their inner calm. They do not even need me for that anymore.
– Concentration at school. Of course, I do not have any fool-proof evidence, especially since my kids always were thorough students, but I know the are using some learned concentration techniques which contribute, albeit just a bit, to their results.
– Their emotional management during the inevitable quarrels between brother and sister is, in my opinion, improved. I see them less trapped in their reptilian brain today and have seen their ability to reason even in times of crisis improved.
– The awareness of their bodies and the importance of taking care of themselves has increased. They accept the many vegetables I serve them more easily. I have seen them making different and healthier choices even on their own. 

I however want to reassure that my kids still appreciate a nice burger with fries, even if my daughter also opted to become a vegetarian.

Whether you want to give yoga a go yourself or you think it could be an activity that makes sense for your children’s development, you know where to find me.

With love.

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