What a parent should teach his kid

Before my class at the Flow Yoga Center last week, I paid for my daughter’s pass, buying her a five-class one so that we can share a weekly encounter of sweat, deep breaths and bliss in the final savasana. As the owner was swiping my credit card through the reader, she said, “I wish we had more fathers like you!” I joked that it was my way of bribing Stephanie to give me some time. We go out afterward and have a bite to eat or sip on a smoothie and talk about the practice, her career plans or her parakeets.

But seriously, giving yoga (or meditation) to your child is one of the smartest investments that you can imagine. I regret that I waited until she is 28 to give her yoga classes — I wish I had gotten started 10 years ago, or when I was 28 or whatever. Yoga should be like sending your kids to summer camp (so they can learn social skills), making them take swimming classes (so they don’t drown), paying for driving lessons (so they don’t smash the family car and kill themselves). And let’s not get started about the thousands of dollars into college education that almost any parent willingly undertakes.

When we approach yoga seriously and with reverence and awe, we acquire skills that allow us to deal with our bodies and our emotions. I call it a user’s manual for the mind-body connection. I don’t care if Stephanie will ever manage to do Bhairavasana, but I do want her to find the stillness that comes from quieting our tense muscles and mental ticks. Yoga teaches you how to be an adult living in balance. I wish I had known about it when I was on that steep learning curve that starts as a teenager and never seems to level off.

I know that you can only put your kids in a position to achieve fulfillment, but you can never make them actually do them (horse/water/drink – a hard lesson my wife refuses to learn). The frustrations of parenthood abound. I have given up all expectations about where my kids are going to end up — I only hope that they are happy on the way to achieving it.

But I will pull the last dollar out of my wallet if they ask to go to yoga class with me.

¡No te aproveches, Stephanie!

This post was originally a contribution to my Open Mind Open Body online forum.