May 19, 2013

Freedom from Labels: Reflections on Yoga & Parenting. ~ Tanya Schecter

The Eagle Asana

Awareness is the greatest gift we can give our children.

Sitting on my patio, drinking a glass of wine while listening to the rain fall like soft silver bullets of mercury against my protective nylon shell, I smell the scent of freshness and imagine that I can hear the greenery of my grass, flowers and fresh herbs pushing against the solid earth, trying to become the form that they are destined to be. And then I think of how humans, unlike other non-sentient beings, are mutable and unpredictable in countless ways.

As my mind drifts through time, through my past, present and future, my body reminds me that I have not done yoga in a week and I notice that not only my body but my mind misses the calming experience of engaging in a multitude of poses and postures that mimic the range of human complexity and emotions.

As I delve into this thought, I reflect on some of the various poses:

Child’s pose—requiring a relaxed vulnerability and utter trust in the world not to harm.

Warrior pose—requiring a strength, alertness and all-consuming intention.

Powerful pose—which, if done right, allows us to be a pillar of strength from which others can draw support if needed.

Eagle pose—creating a sense of freedom from gravity, as if one could soar forever above the clouds, defying the conventional laws of gravity with wonderment.

Goddess pose—in which you salute the simple beauty of life and the universe acknowledges and salutes your strength and inner beauty back.

Side plank—requiring us to be rigid enough to build on our strengths in order to achieve an unthinkable balance between a shimmering lightness and earth’s grounding pull.

Happy baby pose—in which there is overwhelming relief in just letting go and being in the moment without thought of before and after.

Simply releasing into the pleasure of the here and now, gives us the ability to experience emotional and physical intricacy within the simple time span of an hour seems remarkable. Then, as I reflect on my son, I realize that it is only remarkable for me, an adult who has internalized many of the oftentimes conflicting labels assigned by society and those who love me. For my son, exploring the world, his place in it, his abilities, talents, interests, and everything that is new, wonderful, and undiscovered; he is free and accustomed to being who he is, whoever that may be in any given moment, while trying on and exercising different parts of himself.

It hits me then that the thing that marks me as different from my son is that he has not yet realized that labels pigeonholing and limiting him can be assigned and unwittingly integrated into his perception of self, narrowing who he can envision himself as and circumscribing the world in which he operates.

I suddenly realize that, as a parent, one of the biggest gifts I can give my son is the ever-present awareness that the most remarkable aspect of being human is the ability to choose: that who we are at any given moment is not defining, and that we always have the ability to use what we know of ourselves, our strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, desires and talents, to become the god or goddess of life that we know lies at our core.


Tanya Schecter is a mom, foodie, speaker, coach, trainer, yoga instructor, and writer who has her own blog www.noshings.com. She believes in abundance, that the world is our mirror, and that stepping through our fears is one of the best ways to grow and become the best versions of ourselves. She also believes in compassionate listening, that food nourishes the body and soul, that kindness cannot be overrated, and that we are all wonderful creatures who ultimately want love and connection.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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