I recently visited one of the cooler yoga studios here in town and had gone there on several occasions. I started going there due to their kids yoga. I asked the owner if it would be possible to bring my two boys during their adult classes because it was really hard for me to attend classes as most studios do not have childcare. The only studio with childcare are the big-box gyms. For me, there is a time and place for the convenience of the big-box gyms studios and a time for the ambiance of the boutique studios. I wish I could find one with both, but these are just some of the current opportunities I can run into with my two boys in tow.
After attending a half dozen classes, an older gentleman approached me and said the yoga studio was not a place for kids and that he was going to have to find another studio. I told him I was terribly sorry and that I had to make them a part of my practice and learn to just be. During the class, I was terrified that they would be too noisy, fight or even burn the studio down somehow. My mind went crazy. My basic fears were that I would have to leave because my boys bothered someone. I just loved the place and didn’t want anything to happen where we were asked to leave. With some mental practice and discipline, I was able to put it these fear-based thoughts in check and remind myself that I am here to be mindful and to lead a conscious life. This is why I do yoga. I need to practice not lettings things outside of my control bother me, let alone react to them with my ego.
My boys were not loud, but you could hear them and I think the problem was more that the studio didn’t have a complete wall so the noises were easily heard. I accept the gentleman’s stance for where he is currently at in life, and I simply take this as a sign to move on and find other places to practice. I really try to find lessons in these sorts of situations, and they guide me in how I live my life. Ultimately, I do know and believe that everything happens as it is supposed to, in divine order and timing.
The following day my phone rang. It was a call from the studio owner. I immediately knew what it was about. I don’t think it ever feels good to hear that you and you boys are not welcome. My mind, of course, went through the associated negative feelings, although I knew not to not take it personally. I still don’t understand, however. I didn’t have the heart to even tell the boys because they would not understand. It has been months, and they still ask to go back! As I write this now, I cry, because I do not want them to know what it feels like to not be wanted or given the time. Those boys mean the world to me, and I was not always present with them. I was physically present, but my mind was rampant with thinking about things that had nothing to do with them. I now connect with them on spiritual levels I never knew existed. I am willing to bet that the man who had an issue with them was never afforded a similar connection with his parents growing up. He means the world to me, too, and God only knows the pain a person like that must feel if one cannot bear the voices of children playing.
I go to yoga to be childlike. Kids are more often living in the moment. As we grow older, we learn to protect ourselves due to being hurt and our inner critic crushes our spirit. Many have run into things outside themselves like alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, and food to mask the deeply rooted pain and end up realizing those things don’t work long term. Luckily, we can turn to things like yoga to find some healthy peace.
On the surface, it is not a big deal but this is a clear illustration of a larger much deeper problem our society faces. When is it acceptable to turn kids away? They are part of our community, they are little yogis and as such ought to be an integral part of our yoga community. They were not wanted there because someone was likely hurt as a kid and the cycle perpetuated. I will say that this is one reason I am creating the life I want. I am loving and kind towards the offended, but being offended is not appropriate behavior. I will not accept it and will teach my sons to do the same.