When she was four, my youngest grandchild delighted in my tai chi and yoga demonstrations. I would show her how in Tai Chi we "embrace the moon" and "stroke the wild horse's mane" then we would move on to a yoga flow of mountain to tree to falling star poses--at which point she and I would fall over and laugh. She's nine now, and as her older brother and sister concentrate their physical efforts on soccer, soccer and soccer, she has become my yoga buddy.
Whenever I come for a visit--she lives in Albany; we live in Maryland--we head for the basement to practice yoga. We make our way through cat and down dog, the warrior poses and triangle. We try eagle and cobra. But this is all prelude for her: she has her eye on shoulder stand--with an assist. I hold her up by her ankles, give her back a support with my shin and slowly ease back a smidgen of the assist. Each visit she's just a little stronger, a little more able to use her abs and arms to "hold it" on her own--even if it's just for a second or two. She loves to hear me tell her how much progress she's making with shoulder stand.
There's a special grace in sharing yoga with her. It's a way to do something special together --something no one else in her family can usurp or do better than she can (as is the way with older siblings). This last visit over Thanksgiving, she seemed to feel the same way about our yoga tie. As her grandpa and I were leaving to catch our airplane, she and I had our usual goodbye hug. I mentioned how much fun she seemed to have had on Thanksgiving day when she ran all over the house playing nerf gun shootout with her uncle. "Yes," she admitted, that had been a highlight. Then she whispered, "also the yoga."
Every morning when I roll out my yoga mat, I smile at her three little words and am warmed by my yoga buddy.