What It Is Like Trying To Do Yoga With Toddlers

Not impossible . . . but almost.

Not impossible . . . but almost.

I always meant to try one of those “Mommy and Me Baby Yoga” classes when my daughter was born. How sweet, right? Bonding peacefully with your little one, and toning up while you do it.

Well, it looks like I missed my chance.

This week I started my home-yoga routine  . . . accompanied by my 20-month-old. I am starting to see why there are no “Mommy and Me Toddler Yoga” classes on the calendar.

She is only trying to be a helper, of course. When I do Seated Forward Fold, she dashes around behind me to push on my back and say, “Stre-e-e-e-e-tch!” She can’t help on Standing Forward Fold, so she just gently pats my back in support.

When I shift into a Bridge, she dutifully reaches her hands underneath my bottom and grunts, straining to help me lift that heavy load. I am both touched and vaguely offended at the level of effort she assumes is required.

Yesterday she figured out that Cobra pose puts me exactly at her eye level when standing. She parked herself directly in front of me so we could be literally nose-to-nose whenever I came up. “Hi!” she chirped every time we met.

I hear “Hi!” a lot, actually. I suspect she believes I am constantly forgetting about her presence, what with my bewildering insistence on performing an activity not focused on her. Downward Facing Dog is a favorite, because she gets to hang her head upside down and peer up at me. “Hi, Mama! [What] ‘choo doin?”

It was only recently that she figured out the concept of “jumping,” so she is very excited when I do Tree Pose. Mommy is lifting one leg! She must be attempting to jump! I try to view it as a bonus challenge to keep my balance on one foot as my 30-pound child leaps joyfully around me.

Her favorite phrase is “I need a hug!” It’s adorable the first 89 times you hear it. When my thighs are burning as I strain to make it all the way through Chair Pose, not so much. When she doesn’t get a response, she kicks things up a notch.

“I need a HUG!” she informs me as I sink into Warrior I.

“I NEED a HUG!” she reminds me as I shift to Warrior II.

“I NEED A HUG I NEED A HUG I NEED A HUG I NEED A HUG!” blares the soundtrack to my Sun Salute.

I’ve got to hand it to her — the kid has got stick-to-it-iveness. She has no problem repeating a phrase ad nauseam until she gets the desired response (not literally: She has yet to actually make herself throw up, but I will not be surprised on that day).

The Butterfly stretch does not go very smoothly. I can normally lean over pretty far, but the toddler who plops herself into my finally-available lap makes that a challenge. She wraps her arms around me and seizes her needed hug.

“Two more minutes, sweetie. Mommy is almost done,” I assure her, tactfully peeling my child off of me and setting her off to one side.

“Al-most, al-most, al-most …” she sings, dancing around me.

I sigh and attempt Corpse Pose, musing over the morbid name, closing my eyes and trying my best to clear my mind. I hear her walk away and am instantly relieved and concerned over what she will do out of eyesight.

Not to worry. She has only moved to my feet and is crawling up between my legs, plowing over my abdomen, and flopping onto my belly. She props her elbows on my chest and rests her chin in her hands.

“Hi!” she says cheerfully. “I need a hug.”

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