When we become our mothers (!)

“Because I said so, that’s why.” 

This I snapped at Claire the other morning, when, for the umpteenth time in five minutes, she asked, ‘but why can’t I wear my princess shoes to school?’

Even as the words spilled out of my mouth, I could feel myself cringe… for I swore I’d NEVER say these things to my kids. I was far too evolved to be that kind of mom (this I pronounced to myself before I had a child – ha!).

When my daughter (apparently now named “Young Lady”) was born, one of the things I wished for her, aside for the usual health, happiness and a nice liberal-arts education, was to be free from lame parental clichés.

And here I was, not only dipping into the bucket of ineffective parenting phrases, but embracing them with gusto:   “N-O, No!”  “Don’t make me stop this car!”  “Just because Ava drinks soda with her lunch doesn’t mean you should!”  

Once I recovered from the realization that I had become my mother, I got to thinking about my daughter’s need for answers. I had interpreted her questioning as a challenge to my authority, but like most children, inquisitive is Claire’s middle name – knowing the why and the how of everything makes her feel safe.  It is safe to say that this child will never become a philosophy major.

Being of the same concrete/sequential need-to-know persuasion, when I started practicing yoga 12 years ago, I kept coming back to the mat because it made me feel better; although at the time, I’ll admit I held back because I couldn’t wrap my brain around how or why the practice worked.

I continued to go to class, but until I had proof of the hows and whys, I wasn’t able to let go and let yoga be effective.  I think back to how much I stood in my own way during those years…..  Audibly sigh during a pose?  Hell-to-the-no.  I was far too cool to do that.  It was too obscure…. too new age-y…. too “yoga.”

But had known about the 2005 NIH medical study that proved that sighing laboratory rats had a significantly lower stress response, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about participating. (And begets another question:  Rats sigh!? Moreover, what kind of person can discern the noises a rat makes?)

Ten years later, I am now audibly sighing in yoga class…  and it feels great.

So, for all you pragmatic, inquisitive types, just keep coming to the mat.  Along the way, you just might come across pieces of evidence that support the effects of yoga. Or maybe, your own sense of well being, strength and mindfulness as a result of your practice will be proof enough.

Also, our teachers at Twist Yoga are excellent sources of information – they’re all highly trained, and I promise, they’ll never answer, “Because I said so, that’s why!”