5 Reasons to Take Your Parents to Yoga

If you discovered yoga in your teen or early adult years, your parents have probably heard you rave about the ways it’s made you feel more embodied, present, and happy.

Or perhaps Mom or Dad introduced you to a yoga practice at an early age. You might have seen them model yoga as a tool for positive parenting and an important practice of healthy aging.

Regardless of whether your folks do yoga regularly or have never tried it, taking yoga together can build a powerful family bond. Here the best reasons to invite your parents to yoga class. 

1. Yoga is all-levels. Yoga is an all-ages practice: it provides benefits (body and spirit!) whether you’re 20 or 90. That means that your parents can enjoy moving on a mat, whether they are athletic and spry or whether they deal with age-related ailments, like high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Yoga is a great tool for healthy aging; it helps improve balance, builds strength, and encourages flexibility—and in the right class, modifications will be offered for all bodies and all levels. (Take your folks to yoga, but choose wisely: a hot flow class may not be the way to go. You know your parents and what would be a fun challenge for them; when in doubt, choose a mellower, gentler class.) 

2. Mindfulness helps us to learn to listen, not react. Even the happiest of families have moments of contention. One of the most important lessons of yoga is presence. When you’re mindful and in the moment, you can hear someone in a way that you can’t when you’re simply waiting to react. Family dynamics can become samskaras: habits that aren’t necessarily helpful. Yoga can help you break out of those communication ruts.  Getting everyone on the same page—with respect to understanding the concept of mindfulness—can start in a yoga class. Think of it as entry-level meditation

3. Not talking means you speak in new ways. So much of what we do with our loved ones involves talking. This may be especially the case if you don’t live with or near your parents anymore. When you do get together, there’s much to catch up on. Chatting, gossiping, and having long conversations is an absolutely necessary part of connection. But non-communication can help us see ourselves and others in new ways, too. When is the last time you spent an hour with your parents without speaking to them? Being together in a yoga class can help you notice your impulses—whatever they are. Watching your dad do a pose “wrong” might bring up important themes for you. Do you want to correct him? Do you feel embarrassed or compassionate? How does that help you understand your relationship? When you don’t speak—but you’re present and you’re together—a lot can be said and learned. There’s magic in that hour of asana. 

4. Everyone feels better after Savasana. This one is a no-brainer, right? Think of that happy, sweet, the-world-is-an-awesome-place joy you experience after corpse pose. You come back to the hustle and bustle of real life renewed and less tense. You come back to the world a slightly better version of yourself. Capitalize on that good feeling: experience it with the people you love most! You’ll leave class grateful for each other and feeling especially bonded by experiencing that happiness together. And if there is any family tension, it may melt a little in that post-yoga afterglow. Moving together and then resting together quietly can provide a much-needed family reset. 

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Alexandra DeSiato thinks of yoga as a tool for pregnancy, aging, and injury. Her most common in-class cue is "just squirm around on your mat," which follows from her belief that the best yoga practice is the one that comes from deep self-listening. You can find tips and sequences—and a fresh approach to yoga for healthy aging—at Life...READ MORE