How My Mom Taught Me Yoga, Sometimes Without Teaching Me Yoga

I was so lucky. My first yoga teacher was my MOM, Laurie Clarke in Charleston, SC! I remember her coming to my preschool to do animal yoga poses with my classmates, and I remember her being in Shoulderstand in the living room quite often. But, I didn’t embrace yoga fully until my senior year in high school. I started attending her classes, and it was a welcome relief from the pressure of applying to colleges and making big decisions.  At times I have felt regret that I only discovered the amazing yoga knowledge of my Mom during the last year that I lived at home. I could have had a daily, free private lesson!!! But in writing this list, I realize that while we may not have been doing asana together for all 18 years I was at home, she was teaching me “yoga” my whole childhood by teaching me to love and respect all living beings and to find joy in life. And by example she taught me to respect my body and to live in the moment.

Things I learned from my mother (and first yoga teacher):

Do Lion pose to get kids interested in yoga

Eat a salad with dinner, always

Soothe the body and soul with progressive muscle relaxation

Sing while you are doing the chores

Exercise every day

Drink lots of water with lemon

Take your vitamins

Spend as much time outside as possible

Sing when you are in the shower

Dance while you cook

Listen to your body- don’t be afraid to use a strap, pillow, or bolster

Give generously and receive enthusiastically

Sing while you garden

Hold a pose - it is practice for staying very still if you are lucky enough to see a hummingbird

Visit the beach as often as you can and breathe in the ocean air

Practice yogaevery day (even just a few minutes) instead of a long session once a week

Meditate- it is where the magic happens

Be good to your body and it will be good to you

Have and do a little of everything in moderation

Invert to see the world in a different way or find something you’ve lost

Elongate and breathe, always

Om and chant often

Take a leap and start your own yoga business, cherish your students, and expect it to grow


I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

Love and Namaste,


Carolyn Clarke