It’s pretty cute…my daughter calls yoga “woga.” :) I love yoga and the difference that it has helped me to make in my life. Of course I have lapses like all normal people, but I do try to do it every week day. I used to try to save my yoga time for when the girls were asleep at night or during naps, but then I decided that I wanted to make it a more “public” part of my life for them. I was only putting it off till nap time because then I could have a more centered practice without four girls literally hanging off of me like a jungle-gym. :) But I decided it was worth the swap to make it more public to them, because I want yoga to be a part of their lives, too.

I feel deeply about caring for our bodies. I feel that they are marvellous gifts and that we are truly responsible for taking good care of them. They house our spirits and are deeply connected to them. At one point, I was trying to do “yoga time” as a structured activity that included them…sometimes they liked it, but sometimes they didn’t and would get frustrated as I would gently try to correct their little poses or tell them to keep going. One daughter began to push away and really didn’t want to do it anymore.

I felt somewhat discouraged, because I knew how good it would be for her. In pondering about it, what came to me is that children, and all of us, really, learn best by example, not by being pushed to do something. So I changed the way I did yoga time. Now, I just put on some calming music and start to do yoga in the middle of the living room. I don’t say anything, really, but a calm settles over the house, and often the girls are fascinated and quiet. I often comment to myself how much I like how this pose makes me feel good, or I try to remember to keep a pleasant smile on my face even when I’m trying to stand on my head. :) Usually, within a few minutes, the daughter that I was originally worried about will come and do yoga alongside me, trying to copy what I do. Often the other girls will join in, too, but even if they don’t, they usually dance or twirl to the music. All of us end up using our bodies in good ways without me having to push at all. The key is that the example is established!

It makes me think about other aspects of parenting…of course there is a certain level of expectation that we should have for our children and what they should and should not be doing. But truly, our own examples are the loudest teacher! If we tell them to stop yelling at each other, but we yell at them, what are they learning? If we tell them to pray, but we do not pray, what do they think? They will be more likely to want to do it themselves if they see us doing it cheerfully. :)

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