As a girl growing up, I loved doing things with my dad. He was a busy guy running his own business and raising five kids, but when he had the time, it was always extra special to do things with him. I used to love to go on hikes with him, go skiing together, and help him dig up the soil when he went treasure hunting with his metal detector. And when I got older, I loved hanging out and having a beer with him.

A couple nights a week, my dad would stop off at a local gym for a workout. I’m not quite sure what it was that Dad did at Vic Tanny’s gym, but he always felt great after he did it, and I imagine he got the same kind of high that I get when I finish a yoga practice.

My Awesome Dad!

If my dad were still alive today, I would invite him to do yoga with me. It might have taken some coaxing, but I know he would have loved the stretching, and it would have done wonders for his back. It would be a special time for us to spend together, a way for us to grow together both spiritually and in good health.

I see a lot of mothers and daughters come to yoga class together, and it always makes me smile. But, in the whole time that I’ve been teaching yoga, I’ve only twice seen a daughter and father practice together and have never seen a father and son together in a class  (except for this awesome pic of Elephant Journal Associate Publisher Bob Weisenberg and his dad practicing yoga together on Bob’s Facebook page).

The lovely Thais @InnerLightTG really hit the jackpot – practicing yoga with her mom and dad! That’s Dana Flynn of Laughing Lotus Yoga NY with them after an awesome yoga class at the NY Yoga Journal Conference!

So, why not consider asking your father to practice yoga with you?

I’m here to tell you: he’s sick of getting boring old ties or tools for Father’s Day. Give him a yoga mat, or a five-class pass to a local studio, and then set up a yoga date with your Dad. If you suspect you may get a few objections, here are a few articles to read up on so you’re ready to fire off all the answers to those excuses of “I’m not flexible enough” or “I don’t want to be the only man in class”:

Yoga for Men – What Could be Stopping You” from the website

First-Timer’s Guide to Yoga” from Men’s Health

Let’s Get More Men on the Mat” from The Daily Downward Dog

And, remember my motto – Yoga, You Don’t Have to be Good At It!

This year, ditch the golf balls (BTW, yoga can help improve your Dad’s golf game), show your Dad you really care about his physical and spiritual health, and go for these great Father’s Day yoga gift ideas:

Real Men Do Yoga: 21 Star Athletes Reveal Their Secrets for Strength, Flexibility and Peak Performance by John Capouya – Satisfy your Dad’s fascination with sports with interviews from more than twenty pros, all of whom are enthusiastic yoga practitioners: football’s Eddie George, Shannon Sharpe and Amani Toomer; baseball pitchers Barry Zito (2002 Cy Young Award winner) and Al Leiter, star hockey goalie Sean Burke, and NBA superstar Kevin Garnett, to name a few.

Back Care Yoga DVD with Rodney Yee

Beginner’s Yoga with Rodney Yee or Back Care Yoga with Rodney Yee – Any yoga DVD from Rodney is going to be a great gift, but these are two of my faves (read my review of Back Care Yoga with Rodney Yee)!

Give him the Cadillac of yoga mats – A Vernice Vita comfort foam yoga mat always make a great gift.

NamaSTAY Yoga Towel in Chaturanga Charcoal

Guys sweat a lot and you want you dad to be safe and skid free on his yoga mat, so give him a NamaSTAY yoga towel, available in the man-friendly chaturanga charcoal.

Dad Beach Photo: Denise Clark