Poet in Residence
Bodies and Voices
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
Within the last year, my 18-year-old daughter — who I’d been inviting to come to yoga class with me for years — finally said yes.
Life in the den of sarcasm
With a little trepidation for how much she might later make fun of chanting “Hare Krishna” or doing some intensive pranayama, I drove us to Gopi’s yoga studio in the country where, surrounded by oxen, peacocks and kittens, I somewhat-regularly attend Monday night yoga class. We kicked off our shoes, walked upstairs to the yoga studio and set up mats and blankets.
Living with a pack of teenagers and young adults, I’m so attuned to life in the den of sarcasm that it’s hard to me to imagine reactions from my children that don’t include rolling of the eyes and shaking of the head along with that telltale sign that leads into “Ma….om,” said in two syllables to emphasize how little I know.
Which is true, but you don’t want to let on to a bunch of teens that the older you get, the less you actually know about anything anymore so what little illusion of authority you think you have will be altogether blasted away.
So you can imagine that during the class, I had to wonder how Natalie would react, especially given the long stretch of chanting in the beginning, how Gopi led us in massaging our own feet, the long and deep forays into sun salutation, the quiet exploration of a mudra with our fingers doing their little gymnastics, and the instructions to imagine the lotus at the center of our hearts, “ever fragrant, ever fresh.” I could see the flatulence jokes on the hoof.
Turns out you can sometimes get that horse to drink
After the 90-minute class, ending with a long corpse pose, we sat up, said “Namaste,” visited a little, and then headed downstairs to shoes, kittens outside longing for affection, and the car.
“What did you think?” I asked Natalie as she fastened her seat belt.
“Those kittens are so cute.”
“Yeah, they are, but what did you think about the yoga?”
“I loved it.”
“All of it? Even the chanting and massage?”
“I loved everything about it. It’s the most relaxed I’ve been in months. I’m going to rearrange my work schedule so I can go with you every Monday night.”
Since then, she’s gone off to college, but whenever she’s back home, one of the first questions is when Gopi is teaching the next yoga class. And although she’s not so interested in doing yoga with me at our house, she’s now taking back to college with her an armful of yoga DVDs and a list of local classes to check out.
Turns out that sometimes you can lead a horse to water and get her to drink… or in the case of my daughter, lead a teenager — who would otherwise be watching music videos, chatting on facebook or making a pizza — to yoga where she can and will come home to herself.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.