Parenting as Kundalini Yoga

I went through a brief Kundalini Yoga phase about 10 years ago. What I remember most about the practice was the surprising way that repetitive movements could foster a deep, meditative state. We’d be doing something seemingly mundane, like sitting cross-legged waving our arms up and down, up and down, up and down – for three minutes. The first minute was boring. The second the muscles would start to burn. And by the third… if I managed to push through… somehow I’d end up in this trance-like concentration state, tingling, totally engaged and yet using very little effort to continue with the movement. When the three minutes was up we’d sit in meditation, and I remember my mind being super-sharp, centered and perfectly in the moment.

This process came to mind during GG’s bathtime last night. He was splashing like a maniac so I held up a towel to protect myself from getting too wet. Naturally, he took this as an invitation to begin an innovative game of peekaboo… and so I obliged. “Again!” And so we did it again. “Again!”

So there I was, sitting cross-legged on the floor, arms waving up and down, up and down, up and down, and I was transported back to those Kundalini classes in Jerusalem. Up and down, up and down, up and down. This time with a toddler for a teacher. I decided to give it a go – to keep going until he told me to stop. To let go of whether or not my arms were hurting, whether we should be getting out of the bath and getting ready for bed. To just surrender to the moment with my son. And you know kids and repetition – rather than tiring of the game, he was enjoying it more and more, giggling with each “peekaboo!” I kept at it – for once letting him pick when the game (and my workout) would end. He tired of it eventually, totally energized by his little game – and I had fun, too. And while I didn’t have the luxury of closing my eyes and sinking into meditation afterwards, it did leave me contemplating a metaphor for really being present when playing with our kids.

Often, the games that entertain toddlers aren’t the most mentally stimulating for adults. Perhaps they’re even boring. And then when you have to do them over and over and over… yeh. And often as well as being boring, they’re exhausting. GG literally stands in our kitchen and yells “run! run!” and grins like a mad boot camp instructor as me and my husband run laps around the house. But there’s something beautiful about giving in to it. About surrendering to the boring and the exhausting, knowing that there’s something higher waiting at the other end. True connection. The enjoyment in your kid’s eyes. Collapsing in a giggling, panting heap together.

And just being there with them, for a few minutes. Even if you have to push through some boredom and some pain to get there.

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