Yoga is medicine.
As a teacher, I know this but didn’t realize what medicine it is for toddlers too.
After my Toddler & Me classes, we all seem to shine a little bit more. The toddlers are definitely giddy. But not candy high giddy. It is a yoga high giddy. Yes, even toddlers get a yoga buzz.
Toddlers love the 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.
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 try any poses. But 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, 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 go through such risky surgery.
From one mom to another, I could feel her true appreciation for that little window of time we shared shaking off the past, and arriving joyfully in the present moment.
This is the moment I decided to never take yoga for granted. It reminded me that as the teacher, I have no way of knowing what obstacles parents and children are facing in their 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’m going to let her/him shine.” But I love when we end with singing, “You are My Sunshine,” because our little ones are our sunshine and it is a sweet simple song to remind us that they “make me happy, when skies are gray.”
Parenting is 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 helps 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.
Samantha King is a chanting, vibrating yoga-Buddhist-mom living in middle Indiana. You can follow her on her multi-faceted spiritual quest at http://thedomesticyogi.blogspot.com.
Editor: Cassandra Smith