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My Little Guru

I’ll never forget the very first moment my son taught me yoga. He was roughly 18 months old and we were getting ourselves ready to head out for an appointment. Walking ahead of him down the hallway, I stop and turned to wait for him when I found him standing still. His little arm was outstretched to the wall so that his finger tips could touch it. In that split second when I had turned around, I almost called out his name and encourage him to hurry along. But I could sense that there was something more to what I was witnessing.

I could tell that his touch on the wall was very gentle, and that he wasn’t seeking the wall for stability but rather he was simply looking to understand it. As he stood there, his eyes were locked on his finger tips and the tactile experience of that moment. Then, he started to take precious little footsteps toward me while his eyes continued to watch his finger tips now glide over the semi-smooth surface. He was mesmerized in that moment of sensory involvement.

Exploring his sense of touch, he walked the whole length of the hallway toward me without breaking his concentration before he finally looked up at me and smiled. I remember thinking to myself how remarkable this moment was and how he was teaching me about living in the moment - he was teaching me Yoga.

About a year later, when he was maybe two and a half, he came to me upset with tears rolling down his cheeks after something had scared him. He reached out for my hand and guided me to our staircase where he asked me to sit down with him and take some deep breaths. This was something we’d done a number of times before where I’d coached him to sit and slowly breathe in and out through his nose. But this was the first time he’d ever initiated this calming and grounding practice. I remember tears welling up in my own eyes as I was awestruck by his recall and follow through, at less than three years old, to use his breath to self-sooth and calm down. He was not only practicing pranayama, but he was also practicing letting go.

And then I kid you not, shortly thereafter, I remember being quite upset myself after a particularly stressful few days. I was folding laundry when my little guru saw me from across the room, wipe away some tears. He walked over to me, took my hand, guided me to the couch and asked me to sit. Standing in front of me, now eye to eye, he said, ‘Mommy, let’s take some deep breaths together, ok?’

Bigger tears came out of me then and not because I was more upset but because I was so moved by how genuine, intuitive and compassionate this little being was. At just three years old, he was comforting me. We gave each other a long and loving embrace, before I helped him up on the couch next to me, and I let him guide me to breathe in and out as I dropped in to that moment of deep healing.

Although I’d been practicing Yoga for a number of years before I became pregnant, it wasn’t until I became a mom that some of the richest and most significant aspects of this ancient philosophy started to make sense. I’ll be honest and say that when I first started studying Yoga I was so naive I thought so myself, “Sweet! All I’ve got to do is master these postures, learn these breathing techniques, be kind and truthful, and BAM! enlightenment.” Ha - talk about an ego-driven thought and goal. But in my defence, I was elemental in my learning and only knew Yoga as postures on a mat.

Countless times has my opportunity as mother gifted me with lesson that ring the essence and truth of Yoga. From remembering to breathe, to relishing in the moment, to being respectful and taking care of others, my son, now at the bright age of 10, teaches me every day about staying curious, being kind, pausing to breathe and trusting the process.

All this, and it is just the beginning.



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