The Tiger and I take a mommy-daughter yoga class with a newly-minted, young yogi. She has taught my daughter to sit silently still for two whole minutes, a true miracle in taming tigers, if you ask me. We are learning all the different poses and the Tiger can lead us in a Sun Salutation after only a few lessons. Yoga is not quick, it asks us to be still, to feel our bodies, to pay attention to our breathing. For active, six-year-olds, this is very difficult. For mommies, blissful. So, after ten minutes or so of focusing on poses, the Tiger gets to run around the room to get the wiggles out.
Yesterday, our instructor came up with an ingenious “yoga game” to test our pose memories. She played music while we scampered around the room. We raised our arms to the sky and wiggled them wildly! We chased and were chased. We giggled and tried not to fall. When the music stopped, we had to assume a pose. The trick was once we did one pose, we couldn’t repeat it. It was great fun, but very challenging to go from aerobic activity to stillness, from unstructured movement to one of focus and concentration. We didn’t hold the poses long before the music started to play again. More running. More stillness.
What struck me about this game was it’s similarity to the practice of being an artist-mother who only has a few hours each week of stillness. Running, running, running, and the music stops! It’s so difficult for my mind to jump between the busyness of managing an active home to the stillness and creative discipline that is required to make a work of art. Perhaps our yoga game will train my mind to shift gears more easily.