Reflecting on a Changing Practice
One of the many characteristics of yoga is how the practice can change to meet the needs we have at any point of our lives. We practice solo yoga and family yoga and a lot of other variations in between. As a busy mom of two active children, I’m aware that my practice today is very different than my practice was in the days before kids. When my husband and I were first married in 2003, we lived in Hermosa Beach. At the time, I was working as a personal trainer and yoga teacher in Redondo Beach. A typical day would involve waking up at 6 am to drive to Venice and practice with Saul David Raye at 7 am. Then I would head back to the South Bay and work a full schedule of teaching and training.
Looking back, I see that I was using the drive as my alone time. My morning practice helped me to feel centered and strong for the day. These days, I cannot imagine taking a three-hour chunk out of my day to drive to a yoga class!
My days now involve working as the community director for Manduka and lots of time with my family and friends. In order to make time for my physical practice, I joyfully invite my boys to come play on my new round yoga mat.
Being Creative Practicing Family Yoga at Home
When I am practicing yoga at home (yes at home, because who has time for a three-hour yoga excursion?) my ten-year-old son Cruz is happy to join for about 20 minutes. Since he is an athlete on two baseball teams, I adjust the sequence to focus more on flexibility. My five-year-old, Rocket, just wants to jump on me while I practice. He loves for me to carry him on my back, sit on my quad in a lunge, lay on me in a forward fold, you get the picture. When Rocket is in the room I let go of flexibility work and focus on strength and stability, partially because I enjoy that type of practice, and also because he weighs 58 pounds.
My boys have taught me to favor quality over quantity. A 30-minute home practice with my favorite music, allows me time to breathe into the fullness of this life. Some days when I need alone time, I will wake up very early to practice and find center. Other days I come to my mat knowing that I will have company.
As I think about the future while I listen to the song “Landslide” by Stevie Nicks, I realize that there will be a time when I can go on a three-hour yoga excursion again. When my boys grow up and move into the fullness of their own lives, I will miss these days. Making my older son giggle in a twist, or having my younger son’s baby teeth smile in my face while I am in a standing pose makes my heart very happy.
Desi Bartlett MS, CPT, has been teaching health and wellness for more than 20 years. Originally from Chicago, she has a degree in kinesiology and her master’s degree in corporate fitness. Desi holds advanced certifications in Yoga, personal training, group fitness, and is a certified pre- and post-natal fitness specialist.