• Jenny Bell

My Daughter and I Practiced 30 Days of Yoga Together, Here is What Happened.

Updated: Jan 2

#yoga #yogaforkids #kidsmindfulness #bonding #YWA

In 2018, I completed 30 day series of Yoga called True on YouTube. If you are not one of Yoga with Adriene’s 5 million subscribers, you may not be familiar with her 30 day series. Every January, Adriene and her team release a free 30 days of yoga series on YouTube with a calendar on the website. Each day, you receives an uplifting email and a link to that day’s free video. The series always has a theme and each video connects to and builds upon the last. This year, the theme is Home. To be completely honest, I didn’t love True. I started practicing on and off with YWA in 2017, because I struggled with issues from an injury and autoimmune disorder. True was difficult for me. I had a hard time practicing for long periods of time and I was also irritated that on the last day, Adriene nicely encouraged us to do our own practice.

My frustration came because I was only approaching yoga as a physical practice. I was not listening to Adriene or reading the emails. As 2018 went on, I started really finding a groove and looking forward to daily yoga practice. I read Adriene’s weekly emails, followed the free calendars and even asked for a subscription to the Find What Feels Good membership app for Christmas that year. I realized that committing to 30 days of yoga started me off on a path into yoga as a complete practice: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I really connect and listen to my body now. I had been doing yoga on and off since I was 12 but now I finally understand yoga as the yoke it is meant to be. The practice is meditative and healing.

When my almost 9-year-old, Lucy, broke her arm practicing gymnastics I knew yoga would be the best way for her to strengthen her body again. After it mended, I asked her to join me in completing 30 days of yoga using the Yoga Camp series. Prior to this, Lucy had practiced children’s yoga off an on but we had never practiced together. Yoga was my private time. My family knew and respected how much it meant to me to have this time on my mat. I was inviting her into my world.

Day 1 of Yoga Camp begins with a 30 minute practice and the affirmation “I accept.” Lucy asked me how long this video was and she was not happy with the answer. I encouraged her. This first practice was hard for her. She really struggled in just about every pose. Her body was stiff from weeks of inactivity and her mind had a hard time staying focused and present. I was right by her side and there to pause the video and help her body get into the shape Adriene was encouraging us to be in. By Day 8, my daughter was excited to get on the mat. She was already feeling more limber and excited to practice. By Day 30, she was confident and ready to create her own practice, something I was unable to do during my first 30 day series.

Over the 30 days, my daughter started cuddling me more. Lucy is a very independent introverted child with an extroverted younger brother. Ever since he was born, my daughter has had less time with me. I make an effort to take her out but it isn’t consistent. In these 30 days, she received my full attention and entered into my private practice. During the end of the 30 days, Lucy would reach out to hold my hand during times like savasana. She was letting me into her private world, sharing her thoughts and ideas more and more after our daily practice and I was letting her into my private spiritual practice.

After our 30 days, Lucy committed to practicing the new video from YWA every Sunday with me. She happily rolls out her mat and we get to learn something new together. My daughter started making up her own daily morning yoga and using Adriene’s meditations when needed. This school year, Lucy happens to have a friend of mine as her teacher. Her teacher texted me before 4th grade began asking if I would like to teach yoga to 4th grade every Friday for the school year. I asked Lucy first and she not only said yes but was excited for me to teach.

Yoga had been our bonding time and as my first Friday drew near, Lucy began to have her doubts. In yoga, I truly follow the mantra of “find what feels good,” which means sometimes I say or do silly things. Lucy was nervous to let her classmates into our private world. But Friday yoga has been a success. I have always been proud of Lucy. She is a wonderful, generous and creative person. But now, on Fridays, I get to see her feel proud of me. After yoga, she gives me a big beaming smile and a hug. I always tell people, if I could go back and give my child-self a gift it would be yoga. I am able to give my daughter that gift. The gift of exercising to feel good, not to look good. The gift of listening and appreciating your body. The gift of 30 days of yoga.

Want to start a similar experience? Sign up here for 2020's 30 Day Home series.

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