What if Yoga Just isn’t Your Kid’s Thing?


“Mom, I’m telling you flat out…I’m just not that into it.  No offense.  Yoga just isn’t my thing.”

I felt my body tense as I ran through the options.  Offer to buy him a fancy new mat?  Take him to a different yoga studio?  Tell him all the ways he’d be missing out if he didn’t continue?

You would have thought he’d announced he was running away.  The truth was more palatable than that…yoga just wasn’t his thing.

The kids had both been interested in yoga when they were smaller.  In an effort to expose them to one of my passions, I’d created an entire program around telling them funny stories as we practiced.  It worked so well that we’d grown our practice into a series of videos we shared online with other families with the same ilk.  My daughter still loved the times we’d stretch together.  Being upside down seemed to calm her the same way it did for me.

To me, there was nothing quite like the sensation of feeling my muscles gently teased, sweat dripping off the tip of my nose or down my neck.  It provided a sense of relief to be able to feel my body moving in ways it wouldn’t were I sitting at home in front of a computer screen.  While the computer screen wasn’t the muse in my son’s desire to leave yoga, there was indeed something that called to him.  Something I couldn’t relate to.  At least…not yet.

“I know I’m not very tall, Mom, but basketball is my thing.  Not yoga.”

“But can’t you have TWO things?”

“Yea, but if I had another thing, it would be golf.”

“What about a third?  Can it be number three?”

“Skiing.  I really love to ski.”

I thought back to the times in my own life when I’d tried something new and it hadn’t exactly… stuck.  The list began quietly, but assuredly.  Then grew.  I laughed as I counted the casualties of my own ambitions.

  • Mountain biking with a boyfriend.  A complete failure the moment I went over the handlebars in Moab.
  • Rollerblading with a college roommate.  We’d both crashed going down a mountain in Vail and never got on blades again.
  • Ballet class when I was seven years old.  The drive to class was too long and all the other girls seemed more graceful than I was.
  • Gardening.  For years I’d tried to make a simple strand of cherry tomatoes flourish, but even that simple task was always thwarted by bad soil, hail or squirrels.

I grinned as I realized the end of the yoga era for my son wasn’t the rejection of a gift I’d given.  The gift was in simply offering it in the first place.

“Basketball.  I’m on board with basketball,” I said.

“Yeah…Mom you were a cheerleader!  You can totally do basketball.  You know how the game works and all that stuff.”

The image of me as a freshman high school cheerleader flashed in my head.  I’d been somewhat uncoordinated, and no doubt even cheered for the wrong team at least two or three times in my career.  Still, I’d loved it, and if being a lousy cheerleader 30 years ago is what it would take to connect me to basketball with my son, I’d take it.

While he watched, I ran through one of my high school cheers, complete with a spread eagle jump at the end.


“Be aggressive!  BE BE Aggressive!”

“Stick to yoga, Mom.  That’s really embarrassing.  Don’t do that at my games, please.”

Everybody needs a thing.  What’s yours?


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Johanna Garton, who recently released her memoir, Awakening East. Johanna is a mom, teacher, marathoner, yogi, nonprofit junkie, attorney, and Mandarin speaker. While practicing yoga with her children, she stumbled upon the idea to teach them Mandarin through movements, thus the birth of Kids Yoga Speak!

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