Family Dynamics as an Opportunity for Practice
Spending time with family can offer us a ripe opportunity to practice yoga off the mat. I recently spent a weekend with some of my family members and I was fascinated by the patterns and dynamics of relationship that unfolded.
The weekend gave me the opportunity to find ways to practice beyond asana and into the uicer limbs of yoga. I am the middle child in a family of four siblings comprised of oldest son and three daughters.
My go-to role in the family is the middle path – I try not to choose sides or ruffle any feathers. I try to go along with the flow and avoid any family drama. I’ve noticed a shift in my role within my family during the recent past. It’s as if all my years of practicing yoga are finally seeping in on a deeper layer.
I’m more aware of Ahimsa and Satya as complementary practices when communicating with my family. I do my best to speak my truth without hurting anyone’s feelings. I do my best to practice being kind when my visceral response is so much more reactive! I remember Ahimsa to myself when I get caught up in unfolding drama and do my best to keep an open heart to all family members; remembering that we are all fallible humans who carry our own stories of fear, pain and suffering.
I practice Santosha, the Niyama of contentment and appreciate the familial time together with all of its laughable pitfalls. I have deep gratitude for the presence of my ageing parents who seem to get feistier in their late 80’s. I acknowledge my yoga practice for bringing me to a place where I can witness the dynamics of my parents relationship to each other and to their children, from a curious view point. I can stand back and see where so many of my own patterns evolved from. As a middle child, now in my 50’s,
I am much better at finding the balance of giving and receiving (the practice of Asteya) without feeling drained or unappreciated. I expect that spending time with them will always bring up stuff for me to chew on. How about you?
by Nancy Frohlick, RYT200, Yogacara Teacher Trainer