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The Yoga Report

Mantra Two: Children Can Surprise You

January 6, 2016

Tags: Yoga, Repose Yoga

Son #2 was born to play competitive sports. Whatever synapse connects brain and ball and moves the feet forward Ė fast Ė was included in his packaging and we have spent the better part of his 20 years cheering him on the court, the field, the cross-country trail. Iím afraid to estimate how much we have contributed to the construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge driving to his college soccer games in Pennsylvania and Maryland. But letís just say that they should name a span after us.

Like most athletes, he stretches. A little. Most of his efforts go to skills and drills and sprints and weightlifting. Heís read about soccer stars practicing yoga to increase flexibility and focus, but it wasnít until this winter break that he suggested attending a class. So last night I took him to a beginner session at Repose Yoga.

My track record with yoga and my family isnít good. A few years ago, I gave my husband a mat and four classes for a Christmas gift. At the beginning of the first class we bickered so much about the proper alignment for plank that I sent him to the other side of the room for the second, third, and fourth class. He hasnít been back.

Son #2 has his fatherís sense of humor and I feared that heíd crack up during prayer, or, worse, grow so frustrated by unbending joints that heíd collapse on his mat.
Instead, he swung into sport mode. He was an athlete listening to his coach. Intent on the instructions. Focused on his positions. Unafraid to realign himself and grateful when adjusted. If he couldnít touch his toes, no worries. He folded as far as he could.

Funny how he accepted what he could and couldnít do immediately. Heís the competitor. Why, then, has it taken me so long to not compete, or at least compare, on the mat? Why is it so hard for some of us to accept that we canít always be proficient?

Perhaps itís age. We truck along, become professionals and parents, grow adept at the work we do, the sports we play. When our bodies, like cars, wear out in parts ("Knees are like tires,Ē an orthopedic surgeon once told me. ďYou get only so many miles out of them.Ē), we often give up. If we canít run, we watch the Patriots storm the field. If we fear falling on an icy ski slope, we hit the spa. We know that we should be active, but itís just too easy to wallow in our past accomplishments rather than seek alternatives.

Son #2 is still in his prime; he has lots of physical feats yet to list. But listening to him share his delight at trying something new, and his drive to become more flexible, to get more out of a yoga practice that he can bring to the field, Iím keenly aware that we all, regardless of age, need an open mind. That it's okay to flounder. How else do we learn?

Selected Works

Essay
Cold. Rain. Black flies. Biting dogs. What else could go wrong on this bike vacation?
Yankee Magazine
Alison Hardy has dedicated her career to saving antique windows.
Travel essay published in the anthology "Around the World."
How does one survive biking in Cambridge, the legendary English city of narrow, winding streets, congested traffic, bellowing drivers, and cows? Lots of cows.
Caught between caring for their parents and their own families, members of the sandwich generation struggle to cope with the many challenges of parenting a parent.
Can you be fit and fat? Contrary to common belief, yes you can.
Writer Sue Hertz explores a lifelong ambition Ė learning to sing on key. Can she? Will she?
With the help of an antiques dealer, nutritionist, and a medieval scholar, Carol Shea-Porter, who had never held public office, beat the Republican incumbent to represent her New Hampshire district in the U.S. Congress.
Remember the warmth, the closeness, the dailiness of the family meal? Neither do we. A Boston Magazine essay exploring the reasons behind the disappearing family dinner and the repercussions.
Hockey great Bobby Orr may have knees like no other, but that doesn't mean the rest of us haven't abused the joint beyond its intention.
Boston Globe Magazine cover story on the gentrification of this seaport city on the coast of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Historical Society's regal home, one of the state's most renowned structures, celebrates its 100th birthday. The path to the creation of Concord's architectural gem was anything but smooth.
Book
Write Choices blasts through the boundaries between different forms of narrative nonfiction, focusing on the choices all writers of all forms make at every juncture, from choosing an idea, to collecting content, to creating a structure, to revising.
A powerful narrative illustrating the impact of abortion politics on women and health care workers.