Return to story
A balancing act: Steve Watkins leads a class at Read All Over in Fredericksburg.
BY COLLETTE CAPRARA
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
One sure way for family members to become "intertwined" is to participate in the new weekly family yoga sessions held at the Read All Over bookstore.
"It is one of the few physical activities that a family can do together, as opposed to some being on the sidelines watching others play soccer or foot-
"There's nothing neater than seeing a 5-year-old crawl up and lie on their dad's chest as he's lying down in 'shavasana' (the resting pose)--or watching a 12- and 13-year-old who are just total soccer-heads grinning at their mom as they're all doing some yoga pose together."
Watkins designed the family yoga sessions to appeal to ages 5 to 50 (and beyond), with a lot of flow, repetition and rocking-and-rolling movements.
"And it's a great venue, because it's after hours in the bookstore, so if parents want to keep going, but the kids don't, they can go upstairs and read or just hang out," said Watkins, whose wife, Janet (a Free Lance-Star editor), and two daughters attend the sessions.
He explains that, while yoga appeals to folks of all ages, its attraction might be slightly different for children and their parents.
"Kids like the novelty of yoga, while a lot of adults see it as a way to shake off those office doldrums and get a little energized. And children tend to get a little antsy in shavasana--although there were times when I couldn't tell if some kids were taking a nap or doing the pose!"
A former English professor at the University of Mary Washington, Watkins was first introduced to yoga when he traveled in India in his early 20s, and has been regularly practicing the discipline for nearly 15 years.
He notes both the physical and spiritual/emotional benefits of yoga.
"For one-sport kids who could risk injury from the tightness of doing the same kinds of things over and over, it brings flexibility. And I've come to appreciate the benefits of flexibility even more as I get older: I can't imagine how stiff and creaky I might get without yoga."
"There's something unifying about it--which is the purpose of yoga," he said.
"Many of us live lives that are diffused as we are drawn in 50 different directions throughout the day. Yoga brings a sense of calm helps you to understand and appreciate your disparate facets and understand how they are all parts of your 'self' and they are all one."
He said that the practice includes some exertion, but also some release and a restorative element.
"And there is a communal spirit to yoga as well, and the unity of people coming together," he adds. "This is a place where we want to emphasize and celebrate what we have in common and what can and does bring us together."
Collette Caprara is a local writer and artist.