Last night I took my 63 year old mother to her second yoga class. She's always exercised--she was an aerobic fanatic when I was in elementary school, jogged some half-marathons when I was in middle school, and walked briskly around the neighborhood of her new life with her second husband when I was in college. She has always--and I am pretty sure will always--move. And move a lot! At 63, she's slim, strong, and isn't slowing down.
I got into yoga because I am very similar to my mom. I move a lot. I push myself a lot. I run lots of miles and lift lots of weights and, in between those two physical challenge, I care for and play with and run after our three young children. I am always on the move. The only person who can come along on days with me and the kids and feel exhilarated, not exhausted: my mom.
Movement is part of both of our lives. We don't slow down a whole lot.
In fact, yesterday was a typical, barely-catch-your-breath day: She arrived around 9; we met after I dropped off my older son at preschool. She took my youngest to gymnastics while I went to Crossfit, then she walked him to a bakery while I went to my dermatology appointment and then dropped off my prescriptions only to drive back and pick up my little guy and my mom and then we went to through Chic Fil A drive thru and went back to pick up my prescriptions and then picked up my oldest son at preschool but managed to talk to about five moms about ten different things while waiting for him and we ended up picking him up early and driving home to eat lunch and wait for the handyman who never came so while the boys had quiet time we zipped around cleaning up the house a little bit and then...
You get the idea.
Because of all the things we packed into our day, we got to the yoga studio just five or ten minutes before class started. I set up our mats side-by-side in the back (so we could whisper a bit without disturbing anyone) while she signed a waiver. I do Hatha Yoga, which is less hold-this-pose-until-your-muscles-ache and more breathe-calmly-and-center-yourself-while-flowing-through-these-poses. Everything centers on your breath. It's 90 minutes of quiet breathing. In and out. Slowly, deliberately, deep. Undoing all the inevitable stress from the day.
And, at the end, we did savasana (corpse pose). This one is wonderfully easy: you lie, splayed out, like a corpse. But there's some set-up involved, so I had mom lie down and I put a big bolster under her knees and spread a blanket out over her. I rolled up a small mat and put it under her head. I couldn't help but think how grateful I was to be doing this for her, she who has tucked me in a million times, comforted me with words and hugs even more times. My yoga instructor walked over and put a lavender-infused eye pillow over her eyes.
Once she was taken care of, I did the same for myself.
And we lay there, side by side, not moving. Bringing our awareness to our breath. Breathing into and through our own challenges in our own lives. Taking a break from analyzing and wondering and thinking. Slowing all that movement. Pausing between the movement of today and the movement of tomorrow.
Me and my mom, learning the beauty of slowing down and breathing deeply, together.