Let’s start in Child’s Pose…

During my yoga practice yesterday the instructor said something interesting that struck me. Usually, nothing the instructors say strike me. I know you know, or maybe you don’t know, that yogis often preach living in the moment, give up your “manic mind” or whatever, let go of the day’s stresses/worries/problems even just for that hour, etc. I’ve tried to do all that during practice, but I’ve never been able to take it with me outside of the studio. Life always got in the way, I guess, and I just figured that I don’t live yoga the way others do; I only do yoga as a form of exercise. Of course, I know there is a pretty awesome benefit to living the yoga way. The yogis I know are all very socially conscious (check), aware of the world (super check, if I do say so myself), incredibly empathetic (check?) and, well, annoyingly balanced (um…). And then there are the times that they are so ingratiating, generally when I’m making jokes and they take the time to educate me about the subject I’m kidding about. Really? Let’s have a sense of humor, people. I’m not a moron.

Anyway, the instructor said something to the effect of, “Curiosity and judgment can’t coexist in your brain.” I’m sure this was after his usual instruction to get away from your manic mind and settle into the moment, but this time I was actually intrigued by his later statement. I guess they can’t, I thought. And then I spent the rest of class trying to figure out if they could, and then that night, and then the next day.

It resonates with me still and I suppose it’s because I’ve been thrown into this chapter of my life where I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and where it’s so easy to judge how other people handle the same thing. So, instead of that maybe I can be more curious, like the instructor said. He was relating the statement to performing new yoga moves (instead of thinking you can’t do it, be curious and try it), but I suppose I could relate it to the yoga move of motherhood (cue lights, sounds and that echo-y voice that’s in movies). So let’s try it out, shall we, and look back at something. Like the time The Man and I and two friends witnessed a 3-year-old running around pushing an umbrella stroller in which his infant brother was sitting while their father looked on. And by looking on I mean he was playing around on his Iphone while glancing up at times. I’m curious as to who thought an infant should be put in an umbrella stroller or why a 3-year-old should be running with it with the kid inside? Oh, and I wonder what’s so intriguing on dad’s Iphone. Maybe I need to get that App since it’s obviously more important than proper child-rearing. I’m curious as to whether it’s very expensive considering how useful it must be. Oh, wait. I don’t think this is how I’m supposed to be utilizing my newfound curiosity.

But, seriously, looking back at that moment I was appalled by what I was seeing and didn’t know how to react except just wait and watch the impending doom that was about to descend. And before I knew it our friend had gotten the attention of the toddler and firmly, but nicely, told him to slow down, look out, and be careful. The boy seemed taken aback that someone had said something to him and did follow directions, all the while looking back at us to see if we were still watching. Dad, still with Iphone in hand, never said a word, but took hold of the stroller. I was so impressed and learned so much in that very moment. How did our male and childless friend learn to speak to children with both authority and tenderness at the very same time (and without inciting an argument with the father? When I try I manage to sound angry and bitchy, which comes in handy sometimes, but probably wouldn’t have that day. He obviously has a maternal (or is it paternal) instinct that I’m still learning to cultivate. Maybe he should teach yoga.


One thought on “Let’s start in Child’s Pose…

  1. Curiosity vs judgment – reminds me of the story of the New Yorker riding the subway one Sunday morning. Two young boys were running and screaming throughout the car and their father sitting oblivious to the disturbance. The man thinks “How can that adult just sit there and not discipline his children and make the rest of us suffer the disturbance”. So, he went to the father and reproached him for not keeping his sons under control. The father looked up suddenly as if he’d been in a daze and said “I’m so sorry, their mother just died and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

    Judgment vs curiosity – a powerful way of approaching life.

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