With temperatures in the triple digits in some places over the last couple of days, running 11:00am under a summer Sunday overcast sky was an immense relief. Started stretching at 9:00am. Sounds like I must have been this nibble yogi bouncing gazelle-like gracefully down Rutland Road in Brooklyn? Yes, that is what I would have wished, too. Reality check: My four year old niece, excited Auntie Shayna came to visit, slowed down the pace of my normal work out/stretching routine starting at 7:00am when she walked into the room where I was sleeping and asked me to play stuffed animals with her. I said,
“Yes, but only if I get to work out in a half hour.”
She so sweetly agreed.
Two hours later, after a back and forth about whether “Moosey the Moose” would save “Pinky the Unicorn” from the “I Love You Bear Troll,” I just got up and started stretching around the house. My niece followed.
No, really, by following, I mean she actually started mimicking excercise routines in my circuit around our sixth floor apartment.
- I stretched my hamstrings on the stairs; she did leg lifts while lying on the floor (probably derived from her Riki Di creative movement dance classes).
- I went in for the triangle side pose; she bended forward touching her toes.
- I did an arm stretch, elbows locked; she bet me that I did not know how to do “this” [a beetle squat].
Most stark was when doing the downward-facing dog [a full-body triangle stretch], she crawled underneath me and like congruent triangles—or Russian nesting dolls—folded into me, under me, with her own four year old downward-facing dog.
While there felt something ancient about that moment with her, with her--without hesitation—contorting into the next asana (yoga pose) seamlessly—like we had done this somewhere together before—I am not one to immediately say that proves yoga is innately familiar to my niece.
Or it can be explained by the burgeoning discourse in publications like Yoga Journal that includes writings that occasionally claim toddlers’ ability to achieve inner peace and calm by doing yoga.
For me, most poignantly is what power leading by example and genuine engagement holds.
Playing with my niece, honoring her desires, allowed her to without friction transition into what I chose to do. This genuine engagement reinforces trust channels between us that allowed her to follow me with remarkable confidence. This following will be remembered in her mind and body—opening up the stage for future introduction to daily wellness practices.
For a great article on whether yoga has the same reported effects on children as adults from one family’s story, click on the following link:
Downward-facing Dog for the Diaper Set
“While the children didn’t seem noticeably more chilled out in the end, yoga did amuse them and introduce them to a practice they can use to de-stress when they’re older. ”
After my run around the track at Betsy Head Memorial Playground in Brownsville, I cooled down and headed on the Fort Hamilton Parkway to my new fav eatery: Cebu Brooklyn.
Sat outside to what felt like a Parisian or European styled bistro. The people were beautiful and the overcast created a slow motion effect as folks meandered along South Brooklyn as not to exert any unnecessary energies during a heat wave.
In an exercise in being present, I let my eyes roam to everything blowing: The veranda, the napkin, the summer dresses, the pieces of trash. This added to the slow moving bodies, I felt like I was in some artsy, black and white, silent film. I had a blast under overcast.
@ Cebu Brooklyn (83rd & 3rd Av):
● Lunch - Warm Spinich Salad: pancetta, onions, mushrooms, crumbled Goat cheese, walnuts, herb vinaigrette
● Cocktail - St. German Elderflower Liqueur, fresh lemon juice and gin (Martin Miller's)
● Water with lemon
This Wellness blog is to share the author's trials and triumphs in becoming more present and centering her daily routines around health practices that build from the inside out.
It is her hope to spark dialogue and resource sharing as well as encouragement for those newly embarking on their journey toward healing all over.
(This is a personal blog with resources for educational purposes only.)