Mama Madison: Summer stress solved by yoga

A free program lets parents and kids practice together

The first week of summer break at our place usually comes and goes without incident. At times, one could argue, it even verges on pleasant. I have no school lunches to pack and the kids have no 7 a.m. buses to catch. There's no nagging about homework and my children actually seem (or at least pretend) to appreciate the swimming lessons, tennis classes and other assorted trying-to-keep-then-busy-while-I-work activities I've signed them up for.

During the first week of break we slept in a little each morning and grilled out on non-severe-weather-warning weeknights. For the most part, we all kind of enjoyed (or at least pretended to) each other's extended company.

But then, as happens every year, week two comes roaring back like a caged tiger sprung from imprisonment. Somehow the romantic notion of what break is supposed to be like -- lazy evenings at the pool, everyone quietly engrossed in a summer read and sucking on a Popsicle -- has been unceremoniously tossed out the window.

Sure, there's been laziness, but it's gone way beyond poolside. It's now also kicking in at the precise moment I ask the kids to unpack the dishwasher or mow the lawn. Neither of my younger offspring seems to be reading anything at all beyond the occasional street sign and directions on how to make microwave popcorn. And the only Popsicles I've experienced thus far were in the box my kids allowed to melt on the basement floor as they fought over who would have to put them in the freezer like I asked.

I have gotten one of my summer wishes though; it's really is kind of quiet around here. I guess that's what happens when none of the kids are speaking to each other. Or I to them.

So where's the summer tranquility this mom's been falsely promised? At this rate, it's going to take a lot more than a box of Calgon to take me away, especially since my daughter has already clogged up our only tub trying to give the dog an ill-advised bath in a fit of summer break boredom.

So I was pretty pleased to see that this coming Saturday, June 28, Jamie Gepner, an instructor at Blackbird Family Yoga and founder of Little Om BIG OM, a Madison-based outfit that specializes in teaching yoga to kids, will be conducting a complimentary class for all ages at Lululemon Athletica at Hilldale Mall, 574 N. Midvale Blvd., at 9 a.m.

It's the perfect 60-minute, free chance for parents to enjoy firsthand many of the stress-reducing benefits of yoga. And they can enjoy them right along side of some of life's biggest stress-inducers: their kids.

I'm hopeful my daughter (there is no way I'll be able to convince my teenage boys to don the requisite Lycra) and I will be there. It will be great for us both to strike those mountain, eagle and warrior poses we've heard so much about.

I'm also very much looking forward to watching my daughter attempt a downward dog that doesn't involve rinsing an overabundance of detangling shampoo off our Jack Russell terrier.

And I will plan to take a well-earned savasana, aka the corpse pose, at the end of the class.

That is, if week two of summer hasn't killed me first.

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