Daddy Does Yoga

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My husband Neil–an exceptionally dedicated father, and an equally dedicated workaholic–goes to yoga class on Sunday mornings. This is a miracle ten years in the making.

While Neil has always loved the feeling of stretching himself out in an asana class, finding the time in his busy schedule has been a struggle. The only time he attended class faithfully was years ago when I was teaching yoga in the evenings down the road from the college where he was a professor. For a long time after that, Neil would take a class here and there, or very occasionally practice at home, but he never managed to build in a regular practice.

Neil, a sociologist, loves his work, and he works very hard. He also puts in a lot of time with Lucien. Unlike me, he never takes the occasional Saturday afternoon to meet a friend, go on a bike ride, or read in the hammock for an hour–on the weekends he’s either hanging out with the family, doing errands for us, or working. With little-to-no personal downtime, I knew how much yoga could help him. The physical benefits of asana practice would be a perfect antidote to his hours at the computer, and the peace of resting in Savasana at the end of class might be the only complete relaxation he’d have all week.

But there’s no forcing someone into a yoga practice. Sure, Neil wanted to find time for yoga class, but he wanted to be with Lucien and me and work more. Much more. Every so often, though, I’d bring up the topic. “Wouldn’t you like to…?” I’d ask him, suggesting an evening level 1/2 class offered by my teacher. 

But I didn’t push–not too hard, anyway. On his own, after some trial and error, Neil finally found a class that works for him. It’s a Sunday morning “men’s class” at my Iyengar center. At first we worried about losing our Sunday morning family time–the one morning of the week we all have together, since I often take Saturday mornings to catch up on my writing and on the laundry.  We needn’t have worried.  “Daddy doing yoga,” as Lucien calls it when Neil heads to class, has had an entirely positive effect on our family. And Neil doesn’t need to be convinced to go, either!

While he hasn’t made it to class every Sunday morning (see my previous posts on how sick we’ve been!), he has gone most mornings since signing up. Lucien and I use the time to host a play date in the backyard, or just to be together. Neil comes home by noon–rejuvenated, rested, relaxed and ready for the week.

Jessica Berger Gross is the author of enLIGHTened:
How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle
Pointer (Skyhorse),
she lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with
her husband and two-year-old son.

5 responses to “Daddy Does Yoga”

  1. Jenna

    YAY! I will have to show this to my husband….
    I wonder how much of a difference it makes to have a “men’s class”??

  2. Jessica Berger Gross

    I think it does make a difference, the class is tailored to men’s physical issues and has a nice Sunday morning “I belong here” sort of vibe, according to Neil.

  3. YogaSpy

    I agree that “pushing” never really works. In my case, my dad recently took to the yoga stretches I recommended that he do at home (I wrote about it here: http://yogaspy.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/yoga-rx-for-my-dad/).
    I wondered the same question as Jenna, regarding the appeal of a “men’s class.” Would I prefer a women’s class if I took up… hmm… what’s a typically male activity? Perhaps, but I’d probably care more about apt level and overall vibe. But perhaps that is the key here, too. The men in the class are probably similar to Neil in level–and with Grant teaching, the vibe is probably mellow and friendly.

  4. jessica Berger Gross

    Yup, I think the level helps a lot. Also Grant sounds like he manages to teach a simultaneously challenging and level appropriate class which can be a hard mix to find.

  5. jessica Berger Gross

    Yup, I think the level helps a lot. Also Grant sounds like he manages to teach a simultaneously challenging and level appropriate class.