When I asked my mum to come to yoga class, I thought Dad would use the time to do some work he always seems to have to do. So I was thrilled that my dad agreed to come too...
My parents live in Brunei. Where? Exactly, I respond.
Anyway, not sure if you've experienced this when you haven't seen loved ones for a long time, especially parents, but many emotions come to mind & heart. Joy and gratitude of course, they travelled all the way from a country I admittedly don't know where it is, to spend time with us and then some sadness too. What struck me first was to see how much they had shrunk in stature and as my mind recognised the reality of what that means, I couldn't stop the tears. For children and adolescents, with periods of time of not seeing one another, strength and height is often first observed. This too was noticeable for my parents, however, this time, their seemingly diminishing height got to me and for me, it had to stop or at least slow down.
No more suggesting how beneficial yoga is for the nth time. It was time to be intentional and actually drag them to class, kicking, screaming and/or complaining, if necessary.
I explained to them how their everyday activities, like sitting or reactions to pain, can cause the body to contract, the bones & muscles to collapse and with a bit of awareness, we actually do have the ability to affect this & make small changes that can correct this seeming inevitability.
That being said, I could see a mixture of head nodding, ahas and glazed eyes, so I decided to use the Wine Analogy Tool. I can explain forever all the nuances, the whys and the flavours of one of my favorite Proscecco's, and you may mentally bookmark it, to potentially buy some, however if I really want you to understand what I'm talking about, it is simply quicker and more effective to buy a bottle and make you try it with me. Here's the link, just in case... ;)
So, I brought them to a yoga class which could show them the precise biomechanics I wanted them to bodily experience, a class that enables them to understand what occurs when they collapse their internal structure and then comparitively show them tools that can conversely correct these unknown body habits. Thus, I took them to Down Under Yoga's Iyengar Yoga class with Nadja Rafaie.
With no yoga gear, I was deliberate to set my parents up at the front of class with a curious mind, and yes, they did try to sneak off to the back of the room. My dad is a professor at Brunei University so I used the Education Card and reminded him that students who sit at the front of class and ask lots of questions are the best learners.
Nadja took us through a series of tools that would provide ease, strength and understanding through specific alignment instruction. In Iyengar Yoga we spend a lot of time in Downward Dog, as it is used as a 'control/comparison pose,' to review what was learnt when constructing a given pose. We then check in to see if the new body technology provided ease or made a difference to our control pose, Downward Dog. For beginners and even long time practioners, an extended hold in DD can feel unsafe due to the possibility of sliding, or feel heavy and weight bearing on the wrist, shoulders and neck, if not taught correctly. However, when I looked over to my parents mats, there they were, two little determined learners in their everyday clothes and upside down U's, moving towards upside down V's, working on their bodies, unaware of my concerns.
Cautiously I asked, so what did you think?
Mum: Yeah it was good, I now get what you mean when you say I can lift my bones off my joints. Also I've tried to do Downward Dog before, but I can't hold it for long due to my rheumatoid arthritis, however, today I was surprised that although it was work, I didn't notice any pain in my wrists. Can we buy some of Nadja's DVDs?
Dad: Oh wow, that is very good stuff. I can see it would be helpful for my golf.
To me, that was a euphoric 'WOW, so Totally Awesome'... and I couldn't be happier that they're starting to get what I get every time I take some pose study time on my mat.
#PlankTip ~ If you've been trying to get someone who is important to you to try yoga and the answer has been, No or a glazed disinterest, instead of getting upset, frustrated and giving up. (Been there.) Choose to hear it as a, No, Not For Now or that I haven't learnt yet how to make the benefits relevant... and, Ask Again...
If like me, you're not OK to wait, (my parents were only in town for a few days), AND it really matters, try this other #PlankTip ~ Dragging with Care, works...
And of course, I'd love it, if along with getting your Dad (or mum) to a yoga class, you took advantage of our Buy One Get One free Father's Day offer, however if after reading this, we get one more dad (or mum) to a yoga mat, preferably a Plank Yoga Mat (however any mat will do), then you would make their day and life and mine too.
-Doreen, Plank Founder