There's Gonna Be A Lot of Weird Poop
And other Yoga and Parenting Stuff
Two years ago I was wrapping up a 300 hour teacher training in Rishikesh, India. It was meant to be a trip that my wife Émilie and I took together, however a few weeks before we were set to leave, we found out we were going to be parents. We decided it was a better move for Émilie to stay home, and while initially I wanted to stay too, we realized life was nudging me to do this training/trip on my own. Émilie had traveled to Nepal many years earlier to study yoga and meditation, and while at this point I already had a 200 hour certification, as well as many other additional trainings under my belt, I had never made pilgrimage to the birthplace of these practices. So off to India I went.
The days were long, I’d wake up around 5 to begin meditation, walk from the ashram to go open the studio, often dodging huge piles of cow shit, and actual monkeys in the process (little fuckers will steal your shoes). We’d practice yoga asana, meditation and study all day long, until around 9pm, when I would head to my room completely exhausted, call Émilie to check on her and the growing baby, and fall asleep. We’d eat a strict diet, and practice cleansing techniques like chugging saltwater and puking it back out, or running a string through our nostrils and out of our mouths. It was hours every day of meditation and the most intense physical yoga practice I’ve ever experienced.
At many times I wanted to quit and go home, I’m forever grateful I did not. My fellow students joked about how I was already a dad, refusing to miss any classes, take extra rest or go off schedule. They all knew I’d do great when I got home and my first child arrived. There are a lot of stories about my time in India that I hold in the highest regard in my memory, including visiting the Vashishta Cave were rumor has it Jesus Christ himself meditated, to less serious and way funnier memories like our entire class being disrupted by two monkeys deciding to full on porno style fuck outside the window. I’m sure as time goes by I’ll recount some of these stories in further detail, but for today I just want to use Rishikesh as a starting point to talk about my daily routine.
When I came home from India, I was in the best shape of my life. I was waking up early, doing my cleansing techniques and practicing meditation before I would go teach a morning yoga class. After that I would spend around an hour and a half on my own asana practice, and I would repeat this routing again later in the day. All in all about 4 or 5 hours every single day was devoted entirely to yoga and meditation. It was fucking awesome. I felt great, I had great clarity of mind and my physical body was very happy. I knew this couldn’t last forever.
When Olivia finally came into our lives we were blessed in so many aspects. Becoming a parent was unlike anything I’d ever experienced. I love my daughter and my wife so much, it’s really beyond words. I love them more than I love tacos, and yes that’s sort of a joke, but I really really really fucking love tacos and they don’t even blip on the radar of how much I love my family. We’d heard all the usual things you hear when you’re about to become a parent including:
Get ready not to sleep
You’ve never loved anything the way you’ll love your kid
Being a parent is the hardest thing ever
Being a parent is the easiest thing ever
Don’t listen to everyone’s advice, follow your instinct
Listen to everyone’s advice, make it easier on yourself
There’s gonna be a lot of weird poop
Everyone was pretty much right. There was definitely a lot of weird poop, there still fucking is. Somedays I’m downright shocked at what comes out of that tiny little butt. There have been times when listening to advice has been super helpful, and times when it’s been an absolute disaster.
Being a parent has generally been easy, and hard, but rewarding and awesome. All of the stuff people told us was all true, despite what could easily be perceived as absolute contradictions. How can something be the easiest thing in the world and also the hardest thing in the world? Beats me, but here I am living it.
This process has made me evolve in a lot of ways, and trying to strike the balance between being a good dad, husband, teacher and maintaining my own practice has been the biggest challenge of all. Obviously I am no longer practicing yoga and meditation for 4 or 5 hours a day. That time is no longer mine. And that’s okay. I’m learning to adapt, to take meditative breaks, to practice asana when I can. I’ve learned, that if I need to practice yoga in order to not be an asshole, I’ve missed the point entirely. Most of all, I’m learning that practice and yoga actually take on many different forms.
To truly practice yoga has very little to do with stepping on a mat and doing exercises, it has a lot more to do with opening to the flow of life, to living each day as presently as possible. It’s a process of learning, and growing, and failing, and trying again and again. It’s a process of sharing. For me teaching has been such a huge part of my own practice. This might come back to my Buddhist background, the Boddhisattva ideal of working for the liberation of all beings, the idea that none of us is free until all of us are free.
And so I work, to keep my practice, to share what I learn, to support my family and to most of all be a good father and husband. Each day is an adventure right?
Speaking of adventure, we’re having a second kid! I can’t wait to see how my life, work and practice evolve even further. I love being alive.
Dear friends, thank you for reading. As always, one article is given freely every month. If you’d like more you can subscribe for $5/month via the button below! If you know anyone who might benefit from these words please feel free to forward. As always, I welcome questions or comments.
In other very exciting news, my wife and I are getting ready to launch an online school! The Blossom Yoga School is coming very soon! It’s a culmination of our years of practice, study, teaching and running yoga studios/teacher training programs. We will have short meditations, full yoga classes, extended courses and even continuing education courses for yoga teachers. We hope to share our practice with everyone from total beginners to seasoned teachers around the world. Our first courses will be online very soon, get ready friends for the Blossom Yoga School!
Thank you kindly,