The Dharma of Being A Daddy

Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I’m currently in Los Angeles leading module 4 of my 300 hour teacher training so I am home with my family, but I’ve been on the road a lot lately. Sometimes I am lucky enough to travel with my kids, Madeline and Oliver, and sometimes I go for days or even weeks at a time without seeing them when I’m teaching abroad. Being away from the non-stop adventure of being a householder yogi and 24/7 parent always gives some opportunity to pause and reflect on the dharma of being a yoga dad.

Dharma is the endeavor to understand the principles that guide my life: the deep underlying structures that support me, and the foundations that underlie the choices I make. Nothing has taken me to the core of my being like being a dad. Striving to be a “Dharma Dad” is the endeavor to uphold my commitments and my most important job; to be a husband and a father. I endeavor to pass this on and to do everything I can to make a positive contribution to this world.  To be a Dharma Dad is to invest in the future by how and what I am doing now. People sometimes ask how my identity as a yogi influences my parenting. I grew up doing yoga with my parents. I remember meditating with them when I was a child. Having an inner life has always been part of my life, and that is what I teach to my students, and what I hope to teach and nurture in my children. I am an educator, a truth seeker, a critical thinker and a facilitator by disposition and by vocation. Parenting is like an advanced vinyasa practice: you are always in a pose, it never stops — try and keep up!

I can also safely say that becoming (and being) a father has transformed me more than all the years of yoga and meditation practice I have done. In a practical sense, I have less time now for formal yoga practice than I used to. That has made it necessary for me to be much more focused and efficient when I do actually get time to be on the mat. And it has helped me expand my definition of “practice” to something that I do ALL THE TIME! Yoga has prepared me to be a father. Now the dharma being of being a daddy makes up the lion’s share of my practice. I will spend this Father’s Day teaching a yoga teacher training here in LA. Ideally, I would spend it camping with the kids. Last year we “camped out” on the putting green at the Brentwood Country Club with my father-in-law with a bunch of other dads and families. That was fun, but not really what I would call camping. Next year maybe we’ll get into the mountains and have some real adventure.  In the meanwhile, we will play every day, have constant adventures at home and I will endeavor to treasure every moment of the process, cause they are growing up all too fast.

Father’s Day is THIS SUNDAY, and I’m calling on all yoga dads to BECOME #DharmaDads! Starting Father’s Day (this Sunday, June 15th), Jason Crandell , Dice Iida-Klein and I challenge YOU to do more yoga with your kids! Join us on Instagram for the #DharmaDads 7-day challenge. Follow @noahmaze, @jason_crandell & @bryceyoga for daily inspiration, and post your photos using the hashtag #DharmaDads to join in the fun. Invite your friends to participate as well — let’s get as many dads doing yoga with their kids as possible!   New to Instagram? Check out Gordon Ogden’s recent guest blog for some helpful tips and tricks!

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