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Child’s pose

I’ve recently started doing yoga at my YMCA. I don’t claim to be good at it. I’m not even sure I’m doing half the poses correctly. Most of the time I feel like the most uncoordinated person in the room. However, it makes me feel very relaxed despite the fact that I’m dripping sweat the entire hour session. That alone makes it worth the awkwardness and fear of falling over. So, in I troop, three times a week. I haven’t even purchased my own mat yet because I’m still trying to figure out if this is going to permanently be a good workout, or if it only is right now because I’m stretching my body in ways I don’t think it was designed to move – and most certainly is not accustomed to.

I really needed the relaxation of breathing deeply for an hour while trying to stay upright balancing on one bent leg today. My dad was in the hospital on Friday with a blockage in his artery – and is heading into surgery tomorrow to remove the block and have some stents put in. I’m pretty stressed about it and figured yoga would help me (at least for a little while) try and push the fear of losing my Daddy out of my head.

Usually I get to class a few minutes early, lest I get stuck front and center or directly behind the 7 foot tall dude who frequently comes to class. Today, I was practicing my breathing waiting for class to start, and in came trouble. A woman – with her 2 year old son. She looked frazzled. Like she absolutely needed a break from the kid because he was driving her up the wall. I wondered why on earth she hadn’t left him in childcare – and then realized maybe she wasn’t actually coming to class, was only checking out the Y. Silly optimistic me. She was indeed coming to class and proceeded to get herself a mat…and one for the rugrat. Now, as a mother, I love that my Y offers “Mommy and me” yoga classes. I fully intend to take Madison with me to a couple once she turns three.  So, my next thought was that this lady thought she’d arrived at one of the kids-included classes and had no idea she was about to completely disrupt an entire room of people.

The instructor noticed the arrival of a child as well and went to “introduce herself” to the mom. They had a short conversation where the mother explained that little Johnny didn’t want to stay in child-watch this morning and that if he became a “problem” she’d remove him from class. Normally, I would have expected the yoga leader to tell her this wasn’t a Mommy and me class, but this particular instructor says things like “Now we ‘may’ take the hands to the back of the leg. If we want more of a stretch we ‘may’ bend further – and now we ‘might’ on an inhale bring ourselves to a standing position”. She never tells us what to do – ever. Her instructions are always optional. So, there was no way she was going to assert herself and tell this mother to remove her kid.

Maybe it’s just me, but if a mother doesn’t have enough control over her child for him to be obedient and stay in the child-watch, she probably will not be able to keep him on a little mat for an hour long yoga class. Call me a skeptic – but I knew from the moment that kid walked into class there was ZERO chance this was going to be relaxing yoga for anyone in the room. For about 30 seconds while we were in mountain pose Johnny boy was following right along with us. Then, as we were heading to a forward fold, he decided it was time to act like a pogo-stick and jump around laughing. Mom’s half-hearted “Stop it!” did absolutely nothing. Johnny must have thought “warrior two” meant that he got to run circles around the room yelling because that’s just what he did. Only then did our instructor actually give an instruction. “He can’t run around like that. It’s not safe for everyone else.”. Now that I think about it – even THAT isn’t a command.  (sigh) Mom went back to trying to get him to stay on his mat for a few more minutes while I was fuming that this kid was ruining my pranayama. Finally, 20 minutes into the session, his mother realized she had no control and was being rude to stay in class. As she left, it seemed to me that the entire class had a pretty good cleansing breath.

I don’t understand how parents can become so oblivious to their children. Seriously. This lady has got to know her child well enough to at least guess that he isn’t going to hold still on a 4 foot by 2 foot mat with nothing to keep him occupied! For heaven’s sake! He’s a two year old! I wouldn’t dream of taking Madison into a class like that hoping she wouldn’t bother anyone – and she’s the most well behaved child on the planet. I could almost understand if it was a step class…no, not even then. But certainly could see some mothers trying to get away with it in an upbeat, run-around kind of class. But YOGA? An hour class where the only sound is the full strong breath of the person beside you and an instructor softly suggesting what you ‘might’ do next? Besides, what are you teaching your kid if, as a reward for throwing a fit and refusing to stay with the childwatch folks, he gets to come up to yoga with Mommy? I just hope my kids didn’t see him placated this morning and think they might be able to get the same treatment from me.

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