I met my inner child in a yoga studio.

I have a love/hate relationship with yoga.

The “hate” stems from the fact that my girls are 34DDs and yoga clothes are not designed for large-breasted women, regardless of what the nice sales woman at the yoga clothing store says.  My breasts become unruly during yoga, which leads to an issue with breathing, particularly when in the Downward Facing Dog position. After initially smacking my face, they calm down only to bury my nose in my own cleavage, leading to suffocation.

Historically, the “love” has been in part about how good I feel after yoga and in part about my perception of what yoga can do for my body. I say “perception” because I’m a little on the heavy side and although I carry it like nobody’s business, there’s usually a skinny, bendy thing on the yoga mat next to me who inspires illusions of a thinner, more flexible me. This hasn’t occurred.

That said, I’ve one upped that expectation by meeting my inner child in the yoga studio.

It happened when I took a community class. The community aspect means free, lots of incense, candle light, groove music, poor college kids crammed in, a few throw-back hippies with copper bracelets on, and couple of token moms and seniors wishing they had chosen the 6am class.

Something was off with me that day. I couldn’t say what exactly, but when I saw my hippie yoga instructor, to my surprise, I kinda wanted to hug him.  Feeling uncharacteristically warm and fuzzy toward a stranger, I wanted to bolt. But surrounded by all the yogis, my ego said stay.

The vulnerability went out the window and was replaced by disgust and irritation when somebody farted about 10 minutes into the class. I realize it’s un-cool among the yogis to lob harsh judgments at the release of toxins in any form, especially because it’s bound to happen to you or someone you love, but I’ve got issues with bathroom-type things that I have no desire to resolve in therapy. In fact, even with a 3 year-old in my life I haven’t really loosened up about it, so I prefer that people release their gas on their own time and in their own, private space that is located far away from me.

But, I digress.

Finding my focus, I was able to hit a Zen place and became completely relaxed by the end of the class. Laying face-up on the mat, with my eyes shut, I heard a guitar.  Hippie was strumming a sweet, soft tune while we collectively lay silent and that’s when it happened.

Initially, I thought of Nugget, giving myself a “bad mama” talk because I hadn’t signed her up for yoga, which I think she would love. We do a couple of positions at home, but she may appreciate the real deal. Then I began to think about her interests, and one thing led to the next. Who would she become as she grows older? What will she look like? How will her voice sound? Already smart, will she be athletic, artsy, a mix? Then suddenly, Nugget morphed into me. A 7 or 8 year-old me; my inner child.

She looked a little like this:

Mini Me

BTW, during the debrief about this yoga session with Healer Lady, she referred to the vision of a mini me as my “inner child” and started to refer to her in the third person. So I’m not just calling her my inner child for kicks. It’s in the spirit of healing.

Mini me was in a field, riding in the bed of a truck, with her dark blonde hair moving in the wind and a huge smile with a single tooth missing.  Her joyous face looked right at me.  Small freckles resided at the tops of her round cheeks. She looked tough in her white community basketball t-shirt and a red sweatband around her wrist. Her blue eyes were filled with something I can’t describe. Hope, maybe. I just know they were eyes I could have looked into forever, because of the connection I felt to her. We looked at each other for what felt like hours and seconds all at once. She broke the connection as she turned to look forward, still smiling. Watching her profile, the large oak trees that flanked the field passed behind her. She didn’t turn back to me.

On the yoga mat, the consciousness of her as a distant memory, unreachable and unreal wrecked me. I wanted to plant myself on that mat for the rest of the night, hoping she would come back to stay, so I could protect her from all that was to come. I was overwhelmed by sadness. I knew her future and I couldn’t change it for her. And the desire to touch her literally took the wind from my chest, because she was untouchable and the grief came swiftly.  The grief that I experienced on the mat that day remains unmatched by any grief I’ve ever experienced. Even when my dad passed away. Tears streamed down the sides of my face as I attempted to catch my breath.

The yogis began to roll their mats and the lights returned to full brightness. Snapping into present day, I went through the motions as I exited the studio.

All I could think was “WTF just happened?” I just wanted a few stolen moments to dream about my daughter’s future.

I would return to that same yoga studio, hoping my inner child would return. I feel ridiculous saying it, but it’s true.

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About Mama's Tantrum

Midlife tantrum: Mothering a toddler while healing from childhood trauma. And trying not to throw a full-blown tantrum. View all posts by Mama's Tantrum

2 responses to “I met my inner child in a yoga studio.

  • David

    I’ll share with you a meditation instruction. If you are in meditation and you suddenly have insight into the very meaning of life… just note it and keep on meditating. Don’t stop to write it down, remember it…nothing. Just keep meditating. And don’t try to recreate it the next time you’re on your cushion. Start each time new. Don’t fret over poor sessions, don’t pat yourself on the back for good ones. For in reality they are neither. Don’t let it go to your head one way or the other.

    Our asana practice is the same. Each session is unique. Pay attention; take its lessons, but don’t cling. Make good observations. Enjoy, and keep paying attention to what’s in front of you. There is peace in your mind. It’s there. It is yours. I find it most often in stillness, when I’m not distracted. It’s there for us when we can allow ourselves to be at peace. Asana practice is conducive to receiving our own peace.

    And there is love in your heart. The love you have for your child is an important model. Buddha chose a mother’s love for her child as the example of the purest lovingkindness. Please practice that pure love – toward others and especially toward yourself.

    As for your big “girls,” you’ve made me think. I’m a male yoga teacher and I should be aware of this. I should notice whether down-dog, etc., bothers any of my students in that way. I’ll ask some of my students how they cope, and if I get anything I’ll pass it on. Peace.

    • Mama's Tantrum

      The not clinging is a tough one, but very good advice. I’m hanging onto my inner child like a Koala Bear. After writing this post, talking to Healer Lady and reading Nancy Napier’s book “Getting Through the Day,” I realize how much I feel in my chest. How often I deny myself breath. Healer Lady has steadily encouraged meditation and finally, I get it. There have been so many times I’ve cried during meditation. Until now, I haven’t been ok with that. (That’s not being compassionate with myself. Understood.) The peace you refer to is unfamiliar and scary. I think it’s another post altogether.

      Thank you for your advice. I value it.

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