My Family’s Journey with Yoga and How it May Have Saved Us

Family in tree poseI am the abundantly proud mother of three (2 and one almost) teenagers. Life has changed around our house significantly since these creatures started to stumble towards adulthood. We have had many, many ups and downs as the five of us, parents and kids, are equally challenged in learning how to deal with raging hormones, roller-coasters of emotions and many rites of passage.

Technology has played a major role in changing the face of this already tough and inadaptable landscape, making it all but unfamiliar to parents alike, as they are being propelled into this new land.

In our house, we never know whom we are going to get. One moment, our funny and charming 16 year old has turned into a sullen boy full of anger, which can be sparked by the tiniest of situations. Our 14-year-old son, who more times than not, has barricaded himself in his room, will surprise us with sudden moments of maturity and clarity as if he has all the secrets to the world. The personality of our 12-year-old daughter often bounces between rebellion to moments where she desperately wants our approval. The thing is, the range of emotion and personality is as broad as the universe and never are two the same, leaving us parents walking on eggshells, never sure who is going to say what and what situation will push one of them into a fit.

I have one, and only one piece of advice … YOGA! Whether it is for me after an emotional argument with one of them, leaving me on the verge of tears and second-guessing every decision I have made as a parent (please tell me this is normal!) OR for one of my teens that have finally accompanied me to a family practice, I’m sure just so I stop asking.

This practice of connecting movement with breath is pure magic, I’m sure. I come to my mat in tatters of pieces that are barely connected and leave put together with a new perspective and a sense of hope glimmering on the horizon. I have seen a significant change in my kids both immediately after practice but also over a period of time. They have had the opportunity to practice at school – where I volunteer teach classes, at our Modo family classes and at home with me 🙂

I am going to be completely honest, my 16 year old son wants nothing to do with yoga, and pretty much pushes away anything I value based on that alone. BUT my 12 and 14 year olds have experienced first hand the power of yoga. I noticed it particularly in my 12-year daughter. This practice has developed and expanded that space in between when something happens (stimulus) and how she reacts. She now takes a moment to breath and evaluates the situation before jumping right off the edge of sanity into a fit of screams and shrieks. I’m not saying that doesn’t happen anymore, because, trust me, it still does. But it happens significantly quieter and with less frequency.

My son is a little harder to evaluate. This little boy was so sweet and wise beyond his years that would always share his thoughts, worries and concerns. He has now become quiet and withdrawn and I never know what he is thinking. The change though? He asks for yoga! He sees the benefit in this practice. I don’t know what is going on in that head of his, but I do know that he has figured out how to self-soothe and to take time and space when he needs it. That is the most important part! He is also loving his newly gained flexibility as a goalie on the ice.

Through and through, this business of raising teenagers has changed us all and there are still tough days where these children I have raised seem more like strangers than anything else, but we are learning how to cope, and even grow together. We are all learning strategies to assist in this difficult transition, and I have to admit, yoga is part of the plan.

(Originally published February 21, 2018)