The Home Sangha: Yoga With Family
Does this sound familiar to you? It’s early evening on, let’s say, a Wednesday. Work (at home) is winding down. School is over for the day. Maybe someone’s reading a book, someone might be making a snack, starting on dinner, playing Minecraft. No one seems to need you so now’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: time to roll out your yoga mat and get in a quick practice.
Now, there’s something about that mat coming out that acts as a beacon. Does the slight swoosh of air as it hits the floor ricochet around the house? Does the subtle thwack of rubber meeting wood reverberate from room to room, alerting all and sundry that somewhere nearby yoga is about to begin? Whatever it is, all of a sudden people who were previously happily occupying themselves want to know what you’re up to.
Like moths to a flame, they are drawn toward the mat. They gather around, maybe trying to get your attention, maybe just wanting to be close to where the magic happens. They might have a few pointers for you on how to improve your Ardha Chandrasana or they might demand a turn so that they can show you their Headstand, their Crow Pose, their Forward Fold. Whatever it is, everyone wants in and suddenly it becomes clear: you’re going to need more mats if any yoga is going to get done around here.
Your Home Sangha
Taking commuting, after-school activities, and in-person socializing, among other former past-times, out of our busy schedules has freed up a lot of time, which we are, by necessity, spending with our families. Many young adults are bunking back in with the folks and even families that are not physically together have been connecting more via regular video chats. Family dynamics are never all sweetness and light, of course, but the overarching effect has been to bring us closer together, making the family unit stronger as we support each other through a difficult time.
A sangha is a community of like-minded individuals that gather together for mutual support. It’s kind of like a family. And now it’s kind of like your family. As the yoga sangha outside our homes has narrowed, the one inside our homes has expanded to fill the space.
And what better time to introduce your kids, your partner, your parents to yoga and other mindful practices? Yoga with your family is going to look different for each of us. If your kids are small, they might just need a place to roll around while you practice or maybe they just want to be near you so they feel included. Older children may be ready for a bit more structure or to mimic what you do. When practising with adults in your household, reach back to your first yoga classes for inspiration or find beginners’ videos you can follow together. Reconnecting with your own beginner’s mind is always valuable, no matter how long you’ve been doing yoga.
No one would have chosen a global pandemic as a conduit to bring more yoga into our homes and thereby our family’s lives, but since it’s happening anyway, let’s embrace it. The more people on the mat, the better.