Those toddlers love that yoga energy created within the circle of yoga mats. They love hearing the adults sing and move together as one. The older ones love trying the poses; the younger ones riding on those good vibes.
|Shene and daughter Chiwa|
photo by Steph Langan, IDS
When we are done, the toddlers usually seem more centered and balanced within themselves. We may not even hold poses for very long, and some of them may not even try any poses. But even still, they seem more at peace with life and ready with positive minds for their next adventure.
Actually, it is the toddlers that are in their natural environment. They are just being themselves in the moment. The bonus is their parent/care giver is also with them in the moment, connecting, and being. That is the yoga.
And because we are all there, having fun and open to being silly and free for that little window of time, its like the yoga works its magic. The yoga transports both toddler and adult out of regular space and time, and into a magical place of singing, moving and just being together.
I didn't fully comprehend the impact of my class until talking to one mom and her daughter after one quite large class. As I observed her sweet 17 month-old daughter with love flowing from my heart, she told me they were visiting from out of state so their daughter could have brain surgery. They had been away from home for weeks. And there it was, how could I of missed it? Her shaved head had a very long scar tracing the back of her skull.
The love I felt changed instantly to compassion for a family who was going through so much. Images of hospital waiting rooms full of grim faces, sickness, and bad vibes flooded me. I couldn't imagine being surrounded by all that for weeks upon weeks, and living through the anxiety of having a child in such risky surgery.
From one mom to another, I could feel her true appreciation for that little window of time we shared to shake off the past, and arrive joyfully in the present moment.
This is the moment I decided to never take yoga for granted. And reminded me that as the teacher, I have no way of knowing what obstacles parents and children are facing in there lives. I just provide them with the medicine - yoga.
At the end of my classes, we sing, "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine," eventually transitioning to, "this little child of mine, I am going to let her/him shine." But I love when we end with singing, "You are My Sunshine," because our little ones are our sunshines and it is a sweet simple song to remind us that they "make me happy, when skies are gray."
Parenting in tough. Whether it is something as serious as brain surgery, or simply getting through the long daily grind of being a parent. It's hard not to get bogged down by all the rain. Going to classes like Toddler & Me Yoga help parents (and me!) remember that the most important job as parents is to just love our children and be with them as much as possible, fully present in body and mind.
|Toddler & Me yoga|
Photo by Steph Langan, IDS