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10 ways yoga made me a better dad

By Jamie Nicholas

For Elephant Journal

Published: Friday, Nov. 1 2013 11:45 a.m. MDT

When I started my yoga practice, there was a long list of things I couldn’t do. Through the years I’ve improved, and the thing that helped me the most was being patient with my own progress.

The greatest lesson I was taught was that while something is not accessible today, that does not mean it will not be accessible tomorrow. Sometimes, my kids easily understood what I was trying to teach them. Sometimes, they did not. Fatherhood was a learning experience for me in how to teach my kids.

Hopefully my kids remember me as a patient teacher.

8. Yoga taught me to not be afraid to fall.

Part of learning is falling and part of teaching and raising children is letting them fall. Yoga helped me accept that in order to learn a pose, sometimes I was going to fall. However, with each fall I would learn more each time until I no longer fell. As a father, letting my kids sometimes fall was the hardest thing to do.

Hopefully my kids understand that I protected them as much as I could, and I never wanted them to get hurt, but I also wanted them to learn to fly.

9. Yoga helped me love women without objectifying.

Yoga helped teach me respect for my body and what it could do. Along that path, I learned to view and respect my fellow female yogi’s bodies for what they could do and not just how they looked.

Hopefully my kids remember me as a good role model for how to relate to and treat women.

10. Yoga made it okay to love.

In my personal experience of being raised, showing emotions and vulnerabilities was not encouraged. Throughout adulthood, this translated into being guarded with my expressions of feeling. Yoga provided an atmosphere that exposed me to people who exuded kindness, caring and compassion. Through my time with these people, I’ve learned that I don’t have to be guarded, and I can give and receive a hug from a fellow yogi. Kids need a father who is strong but is also kind, caring and loving.

Hopefully more than anything, I hope my kids remember me as a dad who was not afraid to express his love for them and receive love from them.

I don’t have all the secrets of fatherhood, but I do think yoga helped me be a better dad. When anybody asks me how to be a better dad, I tell them to get off the couch. And get onto the mat.

Jamie Nicholas resides in southern Maryland. His interests include yoga, meditation and environmentalism. He enjoys writing about men’s issues in the world of yoga. Read more from Jamie on his website, www.manupdogyoga.blogspot.com.

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