“I’m so happy you came to live at our house” is something my Mom said to me and my brothers a thousand times growing up. In honor of Mother’s Day, which is fundamentally an occasion for gratitude, I want to say, “I’m so happy I came to live at my Mom’s house.”
My mother, Judith Hanson Lasater, was my first yoga teacher. And not in the way we often use the word “yoga teacher” today. As a child I didn’t attend her classes, or study her Asana column in the Yoga Journal, or read her books. Instead, she taught me by example.
My entire life I’ve watched my mother wake up in the morning and practice asana. Without fanfare or ceremony I’ve watched her roll out her yoga mat in hotel rooms, living rooms, guest rooms, hospital rooms, and many times before the sun came up because she had an early flight to catch. I’ve observed her for decades simply wake up in the morning and get on her mat. As if practicing asana were as natural a part of life as brushing your teeth. As if practicing asana were effortless. As if practicing asana didn’t require any discipline at all.
Despite her unwavering commitment she never proselytized or tried to coerce anyone else in the house to do yoga. But she didn’t hide her practice either. It was somehow available but never forced. When my brothers and I showed any interest in yoga it was immediately supported. As this photo of me at two years old trying to imitate her handstand shows. My brothers and I were always welcome to practice with her – or she would offer us therapeutic yoga suggestions for our sore muscles and injuries from high school sports. But she never exuded a spirit of inflicting the practice of yoga upon us. And she never used guilt or manipulation to try to get us to do yoga.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to offer a namaste to my mother. And bow with gratitude in my heart to all of the teachers before her who have passed yoga down from generation to generation, always teaching by example.
Photo Credits: Alexander Saran, Judith Hanson Lasater