My Yoga Family

My grandfather, Jack Franklin, in Supta Virasana

I began practicing yoga in 2002, while I was in college.  After about six months, my mother began taking classes as well.  Within a year after that, my father and grandfather had joined us.  Over time, two of my grandmothers, my godmother, my boyfriend (who is now my husband), and an aunt regularly came to the same studio.

As I became a teacher, I had the pleasure of teaching my family.  Often, senior yoga teachers discourage teachers from teaching family members or close friends, as those relationships can affect your objectivity as a teacher.  I believe that can be true.  On the other hand, it has been such a rich experience to observe the people I have grown up with and know so closely grow in their yoga practices and see that greatly impact their lives.  It has helped me to better remove my own childhood and emotions from judgments about my family members and helped me objectively see some of their strengths and weaknesses.

Moreover, seeing the remarkable and subtle improvements that yoga has slowly and surely brought to those closest to me has shown me how wonderfully yoga works to promote healthy change.  From helping my grandfather, who has a daily yoga practice, stay mobile and recover from injuries to reshaping my father’s and my type A personalities into slightly less intense ones to helping my mother connect to her own needs as well as constantly taking care of others to improving my husband’s knowledge of his body, this practice has seen me and my family through joyful and challenging times.  Not only has it given us a method to use to improve ourselves individually, but has also brought us closer as a family and given us some quiet common ground.  Yoga has taught all of us patience, acceptance, tolerance as well as motivation, determination and discipline.  What is amazing is how the practices balance out and give us the right amount of each of these gifts as we need them.  It meets all of us exactly where we are.

Standing in a room, feeling my body move in and out of asana, or lying in Savasana in a room with my nearest and dearest is a sensation that will

My mom, Lynn Franklin, in Malasana.

stay with me for the rest of my life.  As well as remembering my grandmother for her amazing smile, lovely singing voice and cooking brilliance, I will remember her peaceful countenance in restorative poses.  Along with appreciating my godmother’s fierce independence and free spirit, I will always value the memory of her first attempts at inverting in Headstand and the sense of accomplishment and empowerment it has given her.  As my husband and I build a life together, I know I have the kind of partner that can push himself when necessary, but also know when backing off is more appropriate.  Yoga has given me the ability to see my family in new ways and I am deeply indebted to the practice for bringing us all myriad opportunities to learn and grow together.

 

 

My husband, Lee Gordon, in Virabhadrasana II.

My grandmother, Rena Franklin, in Prasarita Padottanasana.

 

My father, Bob Sweeney, in Chaturanga Dandasana

My godmother, Allison Delugach, in Sirsasana.

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2 Responses to “My Yoga Family”

  1. Lynn Franklin January 10, 2012 11:19 pm #

    You’re absolutely right, yoga has met us each where ever we are at any given moment, and been wonderful for us individually and as a family. Thank-you for leading us here,.and for your inspired teaching..

  2. Bob Sweeney January 11, 2012 10:42 pm #

    I was always quite strong. Yoga has given me the flexibility necessary to continue to maintain a very high level of physical activity and fitness at age 65. To wit, I am a soccer goalie, a martial artist (aikido), and a regular participant in intense cardiovascular weight training.

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