This past Sunday at Alluem we held our first kirtan, or what I like to call, a Yoga Concert. The wonderfully talented Girish and his 7 piece band played amazing heart opening music off his new album. The whole evening was awesome! The best moment of the night was seeing one of my 6 yr old students walk in with his dad. This student is one who constantly amazes me! He is so open to learning new things and trying new poses in class. He takes his practice home with him and applies it to his every day life. (For instance, his father sent me a candid picture of him before his last judo competition in a headstand - yes, he can do a headstand in the middle of the room - to "get rid of the butterflies in his stomach".)
His father wrote a reflection on his blog, Yoga Sutras Meets Modern Science, after the inspirational evening with Girish that brought tears to my eyes. I had to share it here with you...
"Last night I sat together with my 6 y.o. son at a kirtan in our yoga shala listening, clapping, chanting and singing along with Girish and his band. My little guy is something of a yogi himself – even though we’re both newbies to yoga. (At left is his drawing of yoga class.)
At some point during the performance, as we sat together on the floor and the vibrations pulsed through us, I looked down at his gentle innocent face – and it suddenly dawned on me – why I’ve been feeling so compelled to expose him (and his younger brother) to kids yoga classes – not to mention kirtans.
Someday, I’ll be long gone from this world.
How will my children find me when I gone?
Where will they look?
How can they find comfort in time of distress? How can they connect with “me” – my heart and soul?
There amidst the chanting, it became clear – that yoga, being a form of spirituality in its barest, stripped-down most primitive form – is a way that folks come to know their true selves, heart and soul.
Suddenly I realized that, someday when I am long gone, my sons will be able to find “me” - my own self, heart and soul – RIGHT HERE! On the bare floor – wherever they are – between their own hands, in the place where their own beads of sweat fall. They will find their own selves – hearts and souls – in their practice – and know that their dad found his true self, heart and soul right there – in the very same place – where the sweat falls from the brow.
It felt so wonderfully comforting to realize that there IS a way to stay connected. To share a living, breathing bond that survives long after the body. There is a path! I think doing yoga with my kids is a way to build a passageway – through space and time – to find each other again – long after we leave this world. I will never forget that moment of clarity.
I’ve seen many great dads in my town, and I think they all feel the same way – whether it be baseball, football, basketball, soccer etc. Yoga – although a deeply spiritual endeavor – does not have to be special in this regard (you should see some of the fanatical baseball dads in my town!). Perhaps, we all imagine that someday, our kids will play and teach their own kids in the same way we taught them. Perhaps, many years from now, they’ll stop for a moment and think fondly of us – about the simple joy they shared, and – in that instant – realize that there is a living bond that cuts across space and time.
Whatever you LOVE to do –> teach it to your kids and you will forge a bond that survives long after you are gone!"
Thank you, John, for your inspirational message. It truly warmed my heart.