Searching through Instagram in the yoga community will bring you to thousands of beautiful photos with people in flawless down dogs, king pigeons and seemingly impossible inversions of all kinds. And amid all these brilliant photos, there comes across children. Babies, toddlers and kids ranging in so many ages, alongside their mom. Some whilst even in poses with them, sitting on their feet, balancing on their hands, or hanging on like a little baby monkey while their mom gracefully moves into headstand.
We often refer to these types of moms as yoga moms. And I’m one of them. According to the urban dictionary, a yoga mom is, “A wealthy, always liberal mother who believes in organic foods and usually has two or more children…. She likes wearing tribal-themed wood necklaces from places in Africa that she donated charity to and tends to have a very earthy colour palette pertaining to fashion. She doesn’t have to do yoga, but likes to engage in activities like gardening, working in the community, and driving her very big car to various other stay-at-home yoga mom’s houses…Yoga mom is also very self-righteous and secretly despises other people who don’t take part in the activities mentioned above. Yoga mom is a hippie but is not hip.”
When I first read this statement, I nearly laughed my butt off. While there is some truth ringing in these words, there is also false judgment and stereotypical aspects we as a society like to poke fun at. I believe that was written by a comedian for a bit they were performing. Because, if that is what a yoga mom is, then I am most definitely not a yoga mom. But wait a minute. What does that make me I wonder? Honestly? A yoga mom. And I will tell you why.
I started practising yoga when I was nineteen years old living in Los Angeles, California. I would hike up to Runyon Canyon and take the donation base classes they have there every day, multiple times a day. Without these classes, I would have most definitely not have been a yoga practitioner let alone a certified teacher. Living in L.A. was expensive and there were times that I only had 10 cents to donate. It was in this lack of abundance yet still so abundant that I realized how meaningful and transforming yoga can truly be. I knew that what I wanted to do was to teach and offer those who can’t always afford a yoga class, the opportunity to experience this practice.
Flash forward almost a decade later, with two kids, eating organic food and most definitely a liberal, I am now certified to teach yoga. So maybe the writer got that part right. It seems to me that what he left out was how we yoga moms may possibly be raising our children. And I say that because of we all parent differently. My point is when I was studying and even with my continuing studies, I have learned so many important life coping skills that the wisdom I have gained has transferred over to my children. They are more generous, more aware, and allowed to feel and express without shame. When I know that I have made a mistake as a parent, I am not so hard on myself, beating myself down with guilt over something that is only a drop in the pool of life. I can apologize, reassure and admit my faults to my children and they have learned to forgive with unconditional acceptance and love. This is what yoga has brought into my family. And with this, I believe is where the writer got the part wrong about us despising people who don’t participate in the same activities.
I am raising my children to be patient, kind, accepting and loving individuals. This is what I believe having practised yoga has taught so many others…to accept people for who they are. Individuals don’t have to practice yoga in the asana form, or even meditate with their eyes closed while chanting. They can just be present in something that brings them passion. Even sleeping. If sleeping brings you to a place of relaxation, total surrender, and present awareness of who you are in that exact moment, then BOOM, you’ve got yoga going. Which explains why the writer was spot on about not having to actually do the movement practice of yoga. Because yes, she can be doing yoga by gardening, if that is what brings her attention to the Now.
Now all these things are most definitely relatable and there are many yoga moms. I personally believe that there is just a little more to it though. And that is our kids doing yoga. Teaching them mindfulness and meditation, breathing techniques, release techniques and of course the asanas. I can’t tell you enough how exciting it is to see that your kids will just immediately whip out an asana in the middle of the store because their little bodies just need to be in the down dog. I feel them on that, for there are plenty of times I just want to bust out a forward fold while waiting in long lines to pay for our food, and yes, it's mostly organic like I mentioned above. But not all of it is though. Because I believe that you can’t hide it all from them or else they are going to go bananas on all that delicious, poor quality food we secretly indulge in behind closed doors. This is what we yoga moms may call “balance.”
And this is okay too. As a yoga mom, I accept myself, my children and you for who you are. I’m willing to play in poses with my children on my feet while secretly wishing for a milky way bar. Yet their smiles upon their little faces that brighten your darkest days is what being a yoga mom is all about. Being able to recognize the beautiful moments, coming to the mat with your little ones and allowing yourself to grow, expand and release. It’s a truly beautiful feeling, and any mom who practices yoga with their littles, I am sure can agree. They will follow in your footsteps, so us yoga moms, in turn, create yoga kids, who turn into yoga adults and who then become yoga parents. I can’t imagine the world becoming a bad place if we just fill it up with yoga people for the next few generations.
Last but not to say the least, yoga moms are most definitely hip, and not always hippies. Because I don’t know about you, but half the reason I have excelled in my yoga practice is from all the inspirational women AND men, practising yoga with their children. And to me, you can’t get any hipper then doing something you love and inspiring other people while you are at it. That is a true beauty in life, and maybe it does sound a little bit like a hippie way of looking at it, a modern-day hippie at least which is maybe what the writer meant to say.
- Jamie Alyson Dwyer
In conclusion, the way that I consider myself a yoga mom will be different then next individual and so on and so forth. We all essentially can be this yoga mom and you probably already are in your practice. The world is becoming an exciting place with all these lovely parents incorporating yoga into their kids’ lives. The abundance of kid’s yoga classes is just the beginning to the transformation we are bringing as a collective. And I am personally super excited to see how these effects change the world in the long run, with the hopes of it eventually being in our schools and used as a replacement for mindless detentions and punishments. If one man can bring yoga to dominate the western culture in under fifty years, just imagine the impact all of us yoga moms and of course yoga dads can do for society. We can, in fact, change the world. So, let’s jump in our big cars, go donate to that African charity while wearing our earthy clothes and keep pushing on yogis. Together we can change the world one yoga kid at a time.
You can follow Jamie on Instagram @888.intuitive.yoga.888