Yoga by toddler
I went out travelling this summer and it’s amazing what you attract when you do spontaneous yoga in public! So my family is on a car ferry in Alaska and my daughter Karina (also a yoga teacher) and I decide to do our practice on a quiet part of the deck. We had passed a mother with a young toddler before finding a spot to put down our mats. It wasn’t long before we were joined by a very curious little girl trying to figure out what we were doing! We chatted to mum for a bit, and seeing that toddler Caroline was keen to get involved, I thought I’d let her take the yoga “lead” and follow her postures!
Little Caroline (around 18 months old) was completely at one with her body, I think we forget how instinctive and physically relaxed we once were. Every movement was natural and made with ease. You could see she wasn’t thinking about moving, she simply moved. Such grace and beauty, it was fun to watch. Karina and I set the scene by doing Child’s pose balasana with a child! We followed her as she sat in Hero pose, virasana, followed by cat-cow marjariasana, forward fold uttanasana and squat upavesasana. We had done a little sadhana together!
Doing yoga in this way with a child confirmed to me that yoga postures reflect how we naturally move, or rather, how we can move. They are shapes our bodies can naturally take, it’s just that over time we lose the connection, the wiring, to enable the movements. We become static, rigid, inflexible. And fearful! I remember doing cartwheels, handstands, playing leap frog and hanging upside down from tree branches and playground frames all the time during my childhood. No mental or physical resistance at all I just moved! Roll forward several decades and it’s taken me several years to work towards a headstand.
I don’t know why most of us lose this connection with our bodies as we grow up but the good news is that we can reawaken it any time through yoga. Some yoga postures take more time than others to feel into, but the potential remains and with practice we can find our own expression of them. So, thank you Caroline for being inspiring and teaching me yoga from a toddler perspective!