Rodney Yee on Life as a Father

My life started over again the moment each child was born. With every birth, I was propelled into a new universe where love, commitment, responsibility and fear took on radically larger proportions. For me, I could never have imagined what an impact children would have on both my internal and external life.

Yoga was essential to my own health and wellness, especially when there were so many core shifts. Even if totally arbitrary, I could use my practice as my sanctuary and my center. For my children, they saw their Dad get on the mat every morning and they began to adjust accordingly. They would sit on my lap as I did pranayama and they would use downward facing dog as a climbing gym. Practice became not only a time for myself; it became a time of togetherness for my family.

The challenges of being a father are different than the challenges of creating a balanced yoga practice, but both are essential for my psychological frame. Fear for my children’s well-being and safety can occupy my entire mind unless I practice and ground myself in the truth of the unfolding moment. Letting go of the pretense of control as your kids leave the house and become adults can serve as a wake-up call and an education in and of itself. Because of Yoga, this process is not unfamiliar and allows for a more skillful and easier transition. Everything about being a father is constantly in flux and takes great self-knowledge in order to bestow the light of love and compassion as clearly and deeply as possible.

The practices that are embraced in the Urban Zen philosophy of life are my tools for being the father that I so want my kids to have.