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Stay-At-Home Dad: Family yoga outing filled with distractions

Updated: June 6, 2013 6:22AM



I’m not particularly flexible.

I knew my physical limitations going into a recent family yoga class.

I wasn’t nearly as aware of my rigid parenting style until that afternoon.

The Wife signed us up for the family yoga class at the Beverly Yoga Center.

The studio at 1917 W. 103rd St. on Chicago’s Southwest Side filled up quickly with about 20 parents and children.

I haven’t been able to touch my toes since sixth grade. So I knew yoga was going to be a challenge.

The Wife has attended classes at the BYC on and off for about a year. She was excited to introduce yoga to our two sons — or maybe she just wanted to show off her mad “yogi” skills.

My 5- and 6-year-old boys removed their shoes and socks. Peter and Bubba proceeded to stockpile every yoga accessory available on their borrowed mats. They hoarded foam blocks, pillows and wedges. Other children then followed suit, clearing out the entire closet.

Meg Shaughnessy, of Chicago, has been a yoga instructor for six years. She’s taught adult classes and classes for children. This was her first attempt at combining the two groups under the banner of “family yoga.”

Among her opening remarks, she stressed that parents ought to give children the freedom to participate at their own pace. Correct poses weren’t important. Parents were role models, not coaches or disciplinarians.

This is a fine sentiment, but it quickly deteriorated. Even before the first pose, Bubba decided he needed a Dixie Cup of water. He brought it over to his yoga mat, spilling half the contents on the floor. I pretended not to notice.

The boys initially followed along, mirroring the poses of the instructor. Then they started improvising.

At one point, Peter was attempting a headstand while the rest of the class stood upright with our hands folded at our chest.

Later, Pete bent over and wiggled his butt at the instructor. Bubba laid on his side sucking his thumb while everyone else was in downward facing dog. (For the uninitiated, that’s a yoga position.)

Nobody else seemed to be bothered by my children’s behavior, but it took everything in my being not to pounce on Bub and Peter and yell, “Knock if off and pay attention!”

I would have looked like a maniac, so I sat there stewing. By the time Bubba spilled his second cup of water beside his yoga mat, I was ready to explode.

The class ended shortly thereafter. We put on our shoes and left. I was more stressed out than when I arrived.

“Can we do yoga again?” Peter asked as we drove home.

“Why would we go back?” I replied. “Neither of you listened to a word the teacher said.”

“Well, I liked it,” Pete said.

The funny thing is that when the boys did attempt the poses, they executed them well. They are certainly more flexible than me. Then again, a 2-by-4 is more flexible than I am. I just couldn’t handle all the goofing off.

We may give family yoga a second shot. But I’d prefer a couple’s yoga class and a separate kiddie yoga class. This way, The Wife and I can do our thing and the boys can do their thing. More important, I won’t have to sit idly by and pretend to ignore the silliness.

I’m not that flexible.

Howard A. Ludwig is a former SouthtownStar business reporter who traded his reporter’s notepad for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.

He can be reached at howardaludwig@yahoo.com.



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