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What Being a Nanny Brought to My Yoga Practice

Since I started doing yoga a little over two years ago, it has continually been a teacher. I have gained a greater sense of gratitude, learned that all feelings/anxieties eventually pass in time, and have noticed numerous positive changes in how I handle what life brings me. It took time before I noticed those changes and for all that I learned in yoga, the world around me has continued to teach invaluable lessons for me to apply to my yoga practice as well.

After leaving the corporate lifestyle that I dreaded each week, I took a couple part-time jobs while finding the career path that is truly meant for me. (A story that I’m finding is all too familiar with our generation.) Along with working as a server/bartender, I am a nanny to 2 amazing boys (not biased at all, obviously). In the process of raising them to be fine young gentleman, they have shown me what my yoga practice has been trying to teach me all along.

Patience, patience, patience.

If you have kids yourself or have ever been around them, you’ll know that patience is one of the most essential virtues you must possess. Children are in need of your time and constant attention. When I get frustrated, I just remember that they are learning how to navigate life, just as I’m constantly learning on my mat. Once upon a time, we all started from the beginning. As with greatness, building character and perfecting poses takes time.

Always have fun.

Kids love playing! All. the. time. I sometimes wonder where the untapped energy comes from when I am building forts or playing doctor. (Probably the coffee I reheat about 10 times throughout the day.) Seriously though, I adore how they look at the world with so much curiosity. Is it any wonder that so many poses are named after children and animals? They hold the keys to how we too should embrace life. We should all maintain that sense of playfulness! Yoga doesn’t need to be boring. Spice it up. Make it you. And don’t stress when you fall out of Warrior III for the hundredth time. Laugh it off. You’ll nail it one day.

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Straight up fearlessness.

Being a nanny to two boys scares the living daylights out of me sometimes. Kids in general are rather resilient but after growing up with a sister, I definitely see the difference in how boys play. I have watched them tackle challenges head-on without even a second thought. They don’t have a problem with taking risks because in their minds, anything is completely possible. No wall is too high. No slide is too steep. What if we approached our poses that way? We would laugh in the face of our handstand fears. Jump right into crow pose. And hey, maybe even take a chance and talk to that cute guy/girl you’ve been eyeing in class for the last week. 😉

No judgement here.

The boys will turn 2 and 5 this spring/summer. One day we were at the park and I had one of my Proud Nanny Moments. The youngest went up to another little boy that was slightly older than him, proceeded to say hi, and then give him a hug. (Took me a minute to pick up my heart that melted into a puddle right there on the playground.) While this was going on, the oldest had suddenly made friends with a group of three kids that were around his age. All I could think was, “I am so lucky to take care of these two!!” They approach situations and people without judgement. Couldn’t we all use a little less judging in our day-to-day? Whether it’s ourselves, our practice, or others around us. Life surprises us when we open our minds and hearts, even if it’s just a little bit.

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I feel so blessed that these two have given me a gift so special and unique: a new perspective. Being an adult (or so I’m told I am), we can become so jaded. They’ve shown me that life doesn’t have to be that way. We can be kind to strangers. We can face our greatest fears head-on. We can laugh at the little things. Growing older doesn’t mean dimming that light.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Allow yourself the space and love to create a beautiful, unique you and I can assure you, that light will shine into your practice, as well as into your everyday life.

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4 Comments

  1. Amanda

    Amanda

    June 6, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I love this! I was a nanny for more than a year for four kids, and I learned some of these beautiful lessons from them, as well. The best part, yoga-wise, was doing yoga with them! They loved it. I’ll never forget the day the 2-year-old (being raised in a bilingual household, so she wasn’t speaking much yet) came over to me, tugged at my pants, and said, “Mah-nah, yo,” and proceeded to stand in the most perfect tadasana I’ve ever seen. Proud nanny moment indeed. 🙂

    1. Avatar

      Heather

      June 8, 2016 at 2:07 pm

      Thank you so much! And yes that is most definitely a proud nanny moment. How adorable!

  2. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    June 9, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Such a beautiful story and connection. I don’t take care of kids right now. I’m not a mom quite yet, and the closest I have ever been was when my brother was born when I was 13. I wasn’t sure how to navigate life then, and at 25, I feel like I’m just learning where I’m headed. This is such a great reminder to let yourself have fun. Enjoy life. Don’t let being an adult break you down. Always remember to come back to yourself.

    1. Heather

      Heather

      July 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks so much Megan!! Kids really open your eyes in so many ways. In my early 20’s, I couldn’t stomach the thought of having kids but after having been a nanny and just learning more about life in general, I know I’ll be ready whenever that day comes. 🙂

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