I’m not a psychologist. Nor do I claim to be a relationship expert, but I am an international mom and daughter yoga instructor. One who has been blessed to observe moms and daughters from all walks of life. As an observer, I am in the unique position of witnessing the dynamics between mothers and daughters; witnessing first hand what makes their relationships thrive.
People frequently ask me why I’m interested in teaching mom and daughter yoga workshops. It’s not something I planned. When I moved to New York from California, I was hired by a yoga studio to teach a children’s yoga class; but at the last minute they asked me to teach a mom and daughter yoga class. The daughters aged between five and eleven. I had two days to prepare and as I had never taught this type of yoga class, I felt concerned, but I had no reason to be. I may have been the instructor of the class, but the moms and daughter’s love for each other, is what brought the class to life.
Yoga is yoga. No matter what fancy name it is labeled. Some classes are inspirational and some are more oriented towards a work-out. Everyone is attracted to a different form according to their individual needs. What is so unique about teaching a mom and daughter yoga class, is that although yoga is the theme, it isn’t the most important aspect. It’s the love between the moms and daughters. No matter what is going on in their outside world, all of that stress seems to slip away when they spend an afternoon together; without any judgement or pressure. It’s magical to watch these moms and daughters transform from the minute they sit next to each other on their yoga mats, until the end of the class.
That is the beauty I witnessed on the very first class I taught, plus all the following workshops. I realized that, although yoga technique is important, this particular class was not about me instructing these moms and daughters. It was much bigger than me. It was all about them. My role involved simply giving them an experience they could share and remember for a lifetime. It doesn’t matter what city or country I teach in, the magical recipe that makes mom and daughter relationships thrive, is always the same.
Here is what I’ve learned about what makes moms and daughters happiest together:
Moms that don’t harshly criticize their daughters, but instead gently help them with the yoga poses. Such daughters appeared to feel safe with their mom because they felt less judged by them. Trust was also strong. I add a lot of partner yoga poses specifically for moms and daughters as this is when I can really see how effortlessly they both flow together.
The moms and daughters who laughed more and didn’t take my workshop so seriously, seemed to enjoy being together no matter what the activity. They were also more connected and didn’t have protective walls around them.
I incorporate a lot of hugs in my workshops. The moms and daughters who seemed to be affectionate even when I wasn’t asking for them to hug, also seemed more balanced.
The moms and daughters that walked into the workshop with no idea about what to expect seemed to enjoy my workshop, the most, as they were living life in the moment with no expectations.
When moms were patient with their daughters, the daughters appeared to, in turn, be calmer and more patient with their moms. These daughters knew they could always rely on their moms.
Moms and daughters don’t have a perfect relationship all of the time, but if they are aware of not taking life so seriously, living in the moment, being affectionate with each other, encouraging instead of criticizing, and giving legitimate praise, their relationships will flourish.
Most importantly, I commend all the moms and daughters for spending the afternoon doing yoga together. A healthy and fun activity to share with each other and where memories are created for a lifetime. I feel blessed to be a part of their journey even for just ninety minutes.
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