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"Yoga Strengthened My Relationship with My Daughter"

David Johnson

Lydia Alicea, 44, first stepped onto a yoga mat in 2004, seeking an escape from her stressful nursing job. The busy mom of two was hooked from the first sun salutation. "That class helped me relax in a way that I never had before," she remembers. Then and there, Lydia signed up for several classes a week in the mornings before work.

Lydia adored her newfound hobby, and she knew that her then 18-year-old daughter could also benefit from the mindfulness practice. "I wish that I had taken up yoga earlier in my life," Lydia says. "That's why it was important for me to introduce Sabrina to it." To her dismay, her daughter—a high school student who was busy with lacrosse and cheerleading—wasn't so keen on the idea of joining her mom at the studio. "Yoga just didn't seem like a real workout to me," Sabrina recalls. But after two years of her mother trying to convince her, she gave in. "When I finally accepted my mom's invitation, I was pleasantly surprised," Sabrina says. "I liked the class, and it was way more challenging than I had expected."

The pair took weekly classes together for a while, but Sabrina's practice waned during college. A few years later, as she settled into her job as a teacher at an inner-city school, she remembered how rejuvenated she had felt after practicing yoga, and she started attending classes at a nearby studio. "For the hour of the day that I'm on the mat, all of my worries about grading papers and keeping students out of trouble disappear," Sabrina says.

These days, Sabrina and Lydia each take about four classes a week; despite their hectic schedules, they try to attend one together. And Sabrina just finished training to become a yoga instructor. "This new adventure combines my two passions: teaching and yoga," she says.

At school, Sabrina helps her third and fourth graders relax on exam days by leading them through a few yoga-inspired stretches. Her students love it; one of them even asked for a yoga mat for Christmas. "I'm just so grateful that my mom turned me on to yoga," Sabrina says. "It's a great way to spend time together, and it has enriched both of our lives."

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