Should we teach our children yoga? I was asked this question last week and it got me thinking….aren’t children natural yogi’s anyway? So many examples started to flirt around in my mind and here’s a few:
- If you watch them, they breath beautifully, with soft bellies their diaphragms move up and down in tune with the breath. As adult yogi’s we often have to re-learn how to breath as it becomes shallow and stuck in the top of the chest. Pranayama is often described as controlling the breath, but I like to think of it as re-learning how to breath naturally just like children;
- They get really absorbed in what they are doing, caught in the moment they can spend hours making mud pies, throwing stones into a lake, building sand castles on a beach. Totally immersed, and here we are as adults reading all these books on mindfulness. For the record, I once spent a family holiday listening to Eckhart Tolle on the Power of Now whilst my wife and kids played on the beach, until I realised that by learning how to be in the moment, I was actually missing out on being in the moment – how crazy is that!
- Have you also noticed that they can get very upset one minute and then laughing and playing another minute – if you don’t believe me, trying taking away the toy that they are playing with! But there does seem to be a natural ability to be non-attached to the raging emotions, instead these just seem to flow through them and then they are shaken off. As adults, don’t we just love to bare a grudge?
- And don’t they just drive you mad asking those incessant questions, why this? why that? If only we remained as inquisitive, having a hunger to learn new things as we get older. Asking the political elite ‘Why isn’t there more light in the world’ is a start…but don’t get me started… (If you do know the answer to this, please let me know – possibly the collective insanity of the human consciousness as my beach buddy Eckhart Tolle once said);
- And of course, they are so naturally bendy! Whereas we as adults seem to be stiffening up both physically, mentally and emotionally by the second.
All in all, children are just natural and at some point we move away from this natural state and become conditioned one way or another. Stop right now and ponder on the habitual stuff in your life which could be addressed / got rid of.
So on analysis, I have decided that it is they who should be teaching US yoga and we should be encouraging THEM to maintain a child-like innocence about life and to avoid (what seems like) the inevitable conditioning that that we experience every single day.
So should we teach our children yoga? No – they should be teaching us and together we could ride our pretend horses on that journey back to Eden.