Oftentimes, when Dylan is fussing or crying, I like to talk to him in my yoga teacher voice. I reduce the volume of my English teacher voice by about a thousand decibels, steady my pace, and offer encouraging, calming adjustments to his current state: “Dylan, relax your shoulders down your back, soften the space between your eyebrows, unclench your little jaw, smile.” I imagine I’m guiding him into savasana (the final resting posture), and I pour out loving-kindness from my heart, hoping he’ll feel the positive energy and settle down. Some times, believe it or not, this works. I zen out and he quiets down. Perhaps it’s all in my head, and the timing is merely coincidence. However, even if the practice only helps me calm down in these situations (which it does), I have to believe that his reactions are, in part, connected to how those around him are behaving. I think there may be something to the energy component of this practice: he witnesses, or senses, my relaxed state, and subtle waves of peace affect his overall state. At any rate, this is becoming one of the tricks up my sleeve, so to speak.
When it doesn’t work, I find myself changing the imaginary posture I’m guiding him through. Rather than talking him down to a relaxed state, I start offering cues to help him through the intensity he’s experiencing. I conjure the spirit of my prenatal yoga teachers while in Goddess pose (the mother of all squats that lasts for what feels like hours): “Remember, everything is temporary.” This idea that nothing temporal lasts forever and, therefore, you can and will survive this yoga pose too, is an invaluable concept, applicable to far more than yoga. I found myself deliriously telling myself this during the birth process, and I find myself telling Dylan this when he’s pissed about a certain piece of clothing being forced over his head.
Everything is temporary. Whether good or bad, nothing lasts forever in this worldly life. It’s this very notion that serves as the impetus behind phrases such as: carpe diem, and the slightly more reckless version: YOLO (you only live once), which my high schoolers like to spout. I prefer to use this concept of temporariness to remind me to live in the moment. Enjoy this right now: Dylan’s tiny cries, his fascination with the ceiling fan, and the way he nestles his face into the crook of my arm when I’m holding him sideways. Appreciate the fact that he still fits on the changing table, in the FisherPrice rocker, and in the plastic bath contraption for the kitchen sink. Revel in his tiny joys: he found his hands yesterday, he laughed at the seam on the couch, he nursed his way into oblivion.
This, too, is part of yogi philosophy: Be here now. I have nowhere else to go, nothing else to do, but be present in this moment. It sounds so simple, but has always been a challenge for me. Maybe that’s why I love yoga: it gives me the tools, both physically and mentally, to alleviate the anxiety I feel when time slips away. It helps me deal with saying goodbye. It reminds me to breathe in, and breathe out, and to know that this is enough. It is my key to finding peace with the temporary nature of this life.