Friday, 5 February 2016

Temple of the Downward Dog - The time we were banned from "Family" yoga class

This week Molly and I went to our first "family" yoga class and today I am feeling the opposite of zen.  Her kindergarten teacher has been practicing yoga with the students during afternoon quiet time, and Molly has been showing me her sick yoga moves ever since.

In my early twenties I'd discovered a Hatha yoga class that I loved at The Yoga Sanctuary around the corner from my then downtown apartment.  This class always transformed my pretty notoriously tightly wound, coffee infused self, into a well stretched mellow puddle of relaxation. Eventually I moved to the west end of the city, changed jobs, and the class sadly no longer fit into my schedule. Nothing I've tried, off and on, in the years since has even compared to the feeling I got after that class.

When Molly expressed an interest in attending a yoga class a few weeks ago I was beyond excited. As a parent of twins I was never able to attend baby and mom exercise classes, because I had one too many children to wrangle, and would need to bring a "buddy" to participate and take care of one of the minions.  It was just too much work.   This, along with hours of one on one time with a specific child, has always been one of the few things that I felt I missed out on being a mother of multiples, I know insert violinist playing sad sack music here for my pity party.

I hopped online and fired off a number of email to yoga studios around the city enquiring about class availability for parent and child classes that would be appropriate for me and my four year old daughter.  I was pleasantly surprised when I found one offered in Northern Bloor West Village that would fit into our schedule to try.  I would actually be using my yoga clothes for yoga again, and not just for sitting on my couch watching Netflix!

Awesome yoga shirt available on Etsy.

Unfortunately the first time we were scheduled to go I mixed up the date of the class, which meant by time we made it to the actual class Molly was beyond excited.  It's not very often that we get to do things together just the two of us, so this paired with the delayed gratification and her trying something brand new brought her excitement level to heights usually reserved for birthday parties or Christmas.

During the small six person class, Molly was the youngest attendee by about two years, and the most boisterous.  She giggled and wandered from her mat a few times (usually when I was in a pose that was more complicated and unable to physically help her into position or grab her before she was out of reach).  She made sounds to go along with the poses frog, cat, shark, and mermaid.  After the class I talked to her about respecting personal space, staying on her own mat, and reinforced that she wasn't allowed to give the instructor a running jump, football tackle-like hug during the class (yeah she actually did that).  She happily agreed, because she is eager to please, and assured me that the wandering and jumping as because she was so excited.

The next day I received an unsolicited email from the Director of the yoga studio informing me that they had received a noise complaint from a neighbour downstairs and that Molly, and kids Molly's age, were no longer welcome at the family class.  As a sort of peace offering they provided me with the name of another studio (presumably their mortal enemy featuring classes geared towards terrible children) to visit instead.

I'm not going to lie, Molly was annoying during the class, but never overly loud even when she was ribbiting like a frog, and for the most part this impacted me more than anyone else.   I went into the class knowing that the experience would be about making sure that Molly enjoyed herself and I wouldn't get a stretch myself like I would attending an adult class.  I assume this would also be the case for any parent in a family yoga class.  Secondly, I have been to other, adult focused, yoga classes where people are instructed to call out "HA!" at decibel levels far greater than the animal noises coming from my little girl.

Imagine how loud her "Dragon" pose would be?

Here's where I'm going to get a little sanctimonious: I warned you my child was four, and while I appreciate your proactive approach dealing with the matter head on, you ruined something for me, something I waited four and a half years for, and I will never, EVER solicit your business again, but I am not going to let you ruin it for my daughter.  Molly wants to be a grown up more than anything, as she attempts to rush her way through her own childhood in a way that breaks my heart sometimes. I never want her to feel punished for acting like a kid, because, wait for it, she is FOUR YEARS OLD.  I am going to tell her that your class was cancelled, period.  Not that she was too young or too "naughty" to ever come back, because she wasn't, she was a kid, attending a class that I mistakenly thought was supposed to create an appreciation for yoga in children. I am going to look for other options, possibly a yoga DVD or a different class that lets kids, be kids.

Chris thinks I'm overreacting, and I probably am.  I was able to calm myself down slightly by envisioning what would have happened had I attended the class with Jack instead of Molly.  I imagine a swat team would have arrived, cuffed us, rolled us in our mats and dragged us out kicking and screaming.

Yoga is more fun when you quack like a duck, or hum the jaws theme.  This is my Mama Bear pose, "ROARRR!" Namaste, bitches!

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