By Shannon Day
I’m no yogi, but I do know this: Yoga relieves stress. Yoga also brings calm and positive energies to those who partake it its practice.
So, I decided to convince my almost fourteen-year-old to do yoga with me every day for a week; just me and her and two yoga mats. The truth is, our current dynamic could use a boost of calm and positivity. After all, being a young teen is hard and so is parenting one.
Yoga For Teens
It can be a challenge to stay connected to our teenagers. Not only does social media have them hooked, but they are also doing that push for independence thing. Though necessary, it can feel a bit like a crazy roller coaster ride at times. When our formerly sweet and loving kids hit their teens, they become preoccupied with their (and other people’s) lives outside of the family unit. Plus, school work is plentiful as is the social pressure to fit in.
All of this can feel like a heavy weight on our teens’ shoulders and, as parents, it’s hard to take a step back and let our kids work things out for themselves. But, in my case anyway, my motherly tips and advice are less welcomed than they once were. It’s time for me to rein it in and lean out a bit.
I’m trying to talk less, listen better, and I’m learning to bite my tongue when what I want to say might escalate an angst-fueled situation. This is not always possible. Like all parents, I’m a work in progress. But I can see now that learning the art of zipping it, will take me a long way in this current parenting stage. I figure taking some time to slow down and connect is a step in the right direction.
Time Together: Family Yoga
Reluctantly, my teen agreed to take part in my one week of yoga challenge. Okay, I admit it, I made a deal with her. She gives me one week of yoga, and I take her to get her nails done for her upcoming grad night. (I was planning the manicure anyway, so it was a decent deal). I hoped if I could get her to take part in the challenge we would both benefit from the time together.
Admittedly, she was slow to make her way to the mat each day and was generally restless during our yoga sessions, but I could tell she enjoyed our time together. And, so did I— once I stopped trying to force her to “get into the yoga zone.” In fact, “getting into the yoga zone” never happened for her. She was too wired.
Instead, she was like a commentator, tossing out observations like: “You look like you’re about to fall over,” and then later on, when I was apparently faring better to her critical eye: “Hey, you’re actually pretty good at that!”
What happened during our one week of yoga would not have gone down in a public yoga class. Because, even though I lit some candles and steamed lavender in my diffuser, there wasn’t an ounce of Zen to be felt. There were, however, some laughs which followed genuine moments of connection between us. There was also an impromptu fart, a comedic attempt to twerk while doing a downward dog, and lots of water-sipping breaks.
Also, and consistently nearing the end of each session when we would typically be lying still and silent in savasana, we had an open sharing of opinions and ideas that otherwise may not have been vocalized by either of us. Not Zen at all, but totally worth our time.
It is evident that my energetic teen will not be bringing yoga practice into her daily life anytime soon. But, I do feel a more positive vibe between us since our week of yoga together.
Just today she invited me to join her on her gymnastics mat for a new challenge. It involves doing burpees, spider steps, butt kicks and a bunch of other unappealing and scary sounding exercises that I’m not particularly keen to try.
But, I’ll be there! I wouldn’t miss it.
Shannon Day is a freelance writer and co-author of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe & WTF?! Her words and wit can be found at various online sites as well as in print. Connect with Shannon via Facebook& Twitter.