While our 17-year-old set out to march, my husband and I opted for our regular Saturday morning practice on the mat, surprised and touched to find our longtime teacher speaking to the day’s events, not just at the opening of class but into the practice, naming the young voices he admired so much–Emma Gonzales and David Hogg–and choking up as he talked about the Stoneman Douglass Ice Hockey team, so that I when I found myself, supine, in Baddha Konasana–hips and heart wide open–tears slid down & around my cheeks, and into my hair, and onto my mat, without thought, without attachment or emotion, and continued as I came into a twist, and later, off the mat, and into the day, I was struck again, as I was on Valentines Day, at how precious the sight of each and every teenager, and I understood that it is not only our relationship with masculinity and guns that will be transformed but our hatred of our young as they come of age.
Each Wednesday I drag my 14 year old to a yoga class with me. It’s a compromise that was foisted onto him– the details of which I’ll leave to your imagination.
Unfortunately, he’s inherited astonishingly tight muscles from both his parents which makes the experience even more unpleasant for him.
Then there’s his sense of balance, which he can blame entirely on his father. It takes all of my breath to remain centered while he dramatically crashes into walls beside me.
“It’s so great that you come together,” others say, ignoring his scowls.
Despite this great show of resistance, I find him settling into the practice–grabbing all his props, unfolding his mat, getting comfortable with a cushion.
Last week, he did an upside down tree– on his first try– and he was proud of it almost as much as he would be for a play on second or a rebound and a basket.
The most telling moment of his growing relationship with yoga, however, is when he whispered to me that he was thirsty.
“There’s a pitcher of water at the front of the class,” I told him. “Go get some.”
“Not now,” he answered, “I don’t want to miss relaxation.”