Imperfection in Progress

The Yoga of Parenting with Sarah Ezrin

June 21, 2023 Dawn Calvinisti Season 1 Episode 24
The Yoga of Parenting with Sarah Ezrin
Imperfection in Progress
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Imperfection in Progress
The Yoga of Parenting with Sarah Ezrin
Jun 21, 2023 Season 1 Episode 24
Dawn Calvinisti

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“We show up every day ready to learn and ready to receive. I think that also helps us bring in this aspect of surrender and trust, because then you don't have to have all the answers you're just learning every day, every moment, every experience is a learning opportunity.” - Sarah Ezrin

Welcome to Imperfection In Progress, a podcast for ambitious women who are people pleasers, perfectionists, or procrastinators. Want to feel less stressed and more joy in your life? Then this is for you. I'm your host, Dawn Calvinisti.

Today’s episode is a beautifully vulnerable discussion with Sarah Ezrin, author of The Joy of Parenting and world-renowned yoga educator.

You’ll hear about Sarah’s own journey, starting with an unstable beginning and moving to the stability she is creating for her own family.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience the ability to move and flow with whatever is coming at you, this is a great episode to learn from.


Special Offer: 30% off code for listeners who buy The Yoga of Parenting directly off Shambhala Publications

Connect with Dawn.
200 Affirmations for the 3 P’s

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

“We show up every day ready to learn and ready to receive. I think that also helps us bring in this aspect of surrender and trust, because then you don't have to have all the answers you're just learning every day, every moment, every experience is a learning opportunity.” - Sarah Ezrin

Welcome to Imperfection In Progress, a podcast for ambitious women who are people pleasers, perfectionists, or procrastinators. Want to feel less stressed and more joy in your life? Then this is for you. I'm your host, Dawn Calvinisti.

Today’s episode is a beautifully vulnerable discussion with Sarah Ezrin, author of The Joy of Parenting and world-renowned yoga educator.

You’ll hear about Sarah’s own journey, starting with an unstable beginning and moving to the stability she is creating for her own family.

If you’ve ever wanted to experience the ability to move and flow with whatever is coming at you, this is a great episode to learn from.


Special Offer: 30% off code for listeners who buy The Yoga of Parenting directly off Shambhala Publications

Connect with Dawn.
200 Affirmations for the 3 P’s


Welcome to Imperfection in Progress, a podcast for ambitious women who are people-pleasers, perfectionists, or procrastinators. Want to feel less stress and more joy in your life? Then this is for you. I’m your host Dawn Calvinisti.


On today’s episode I’m joined by Sarah Ezrin. 

Sarah is an author, world-renowned yoga educator, content creator,

and mama based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her debut book The

Yoga of Parenting released June 2023 from Penguin Random House-


Sarah loves guiding people along their wellness and parenthood journeys. Her words, classes, and social media are supportive, healing spaces where people can feel seen and heard.

I so appreciate how Sarah shares how growing up in a home with alcoholism shaped some of the ways she developed resilience and stability in her life and for her own family. 

We discuss how people-pleasing and perfectionism show up in her life and why.

I know you will take so much away from Sarah’s wisdom. Here’s our conversation.

Dawn Calvinisti: [00:00:00] Welcome, Sarah, to the podcast. I am so excited to be able to not just chat with you, but also to congratulate you on your new book that's coming out. So tell us a bit about it.

Sarah Ezrin: Thank you. Thank you. Well, thank you for having me here and for all you're doing, for all of us. I've heard we're not allowed to say recovering people pleaser anymore,that we can just own those parts of ourselves, but,to helping us manage those aspects of ourselves, the perfectionist and the people pleasers of the world. But yes, thank you. My book, the Yoga of Parenting, is coming out. I don't know when you'll be listening to this, but June, 2023, for whenever the audience is listening to this, it's my first book, though I've been writing for literally since I could put pen to paper.

It's a wonderful way for parents to learn how to bring yoga off their mat and into their parenting, but you don't have to have a background in yoga to, to be able to do that. They're really just yoga informed tools to help parents feel more grounded, be more connected to themselves and to their families.

Dawn Calvinisti: I love that this is something that you're [00:01:00] offering. I know as a parent and somebody who practices yoga, there are many times in my own life that I've experienced how yoga has come off the mat with me, and so to be able to have some tools to bring that down to our kids, I think is awesome. I'm gonna reverse this because normally I ask people at the end, what do you resonate most with being a people pleaser, a perfectionist, or a procrastinator? But I'm gonna ask you this right at the beginning.

Sarah Ezrin: Okay. I mean, it's because I, when we had actually talked about this with like a little BTS for the listeners, right? Is that there, there are some conversations that go into the podcast and when you had sent me the email, definitely not a procrastinator, let's just Take that one off the table cuz I've already done it five days ago.

But between, if I had to choose between people pleaser and perfectionist. Oh, it's so hard to make. I don't think anything's like, Just 50-50 or black and white. But I would say, I think I lean more perfectionist than people pleaser, but it would be like a like 10% difference, and I think that they feed into each other because part of my perfectionism drive is this [00:02:00] underlying anxiety about not wanting to disappoint others.

And part of the people pleasing is wanting to appear like, I've got everything under control and everything's above board. And you know that people don't have to worry about me, that I've got it all. It's that hyper independence, you know? So I think they kind of, they interconnect. So I, yeah, no, no easy answer to that.

Dawn Calvinisti: I like that you're talking about this, especially the idea that they interconnect. I'm constantly saying that, but to hear how that fits I think is really important for a lot of people who, maybe are annoyed by that part of themselves or feel frustrated when it shows up. But I think it's important to understand it.

It's not there on its own, there's purpose for it.

Sarah Ezrin: Yeah. And so the people pleaser side, let's say, that's also your empathetic side, right? That's also the part of you that is deeply caring and conscientious and concerned with others. I think everything exists on a spectrum. Life exists on a spectrum, we're, we would like it to be binary in one way or the other, but that's just not the way it [00:03:00] rolls.

It's all very gray. And with people pleasing, can it get extreme to the point that you're sacrificing yourself and your own? Absolutely. where you're, what we call codependent, right? Where you're so enmeshed in other people that you're being driven by their behaviors and their desires.

But on the healthy side of it is this idea of empathy and, attunement being able to really sense what people need. And I mean we can get into my history later, but I am a child that grew up in a house of alcoholics and addicts, so I am highly attuned to my environment. I know exactly what's going on.

I mean, I think I do right. You, like, it's almost like a psychic power, which can be overwhelming and that can be. You know, it can work to our detriment if we let it overwhelm us, but if we use it as a power, it literally can be like a cool superpower where you're like, oh, I know what this person needs in this moment.

I think I know, so yeah, it's, I think it's all really how you look at it and where you're landing on the spectrum.

Dawn Calvinisti: For sure, and I think that's part of [00:04:00] the beauty too, like you're saying of people pleasing is we tend to have that, that superpower, that resource where others feel like we care. Others notice our concerned because we are attuned, because we're capable of maybe providing something before they even ask for it.

And just knowing how to meet that need.

Sarah Ezrin: Yeah. And then perfectionism, the spectrum of perfectionism, again, it can get to the point where it gets rigid and obsessive, and then the other end of that spectrum is like the, totally not attached, and maybe don't even have your feet on the floor. But in, in the book, I talk a lot about this too, which is finding that middle ground of both working hard, showing up and doing your best, but then also learning to let go of the attachment to the results of that, which is, it's terrifying for me, even just saying those words as an ideal still gives me anxiety, to be able to come to a place of that, can you imagine like showing up, still doing a great job because we love what we do or we're invested in whatever the commitment is, [00:05:00] but then also just trusting on the other side of it.

Dawn Calvinisti: I wanna point out here, like you've mentioned the word anxiety a bunch of times, and I think that's important to add because for a lot of people who, both people pleasing and perfectionism, but more perfectionism that the feelings of anxiety often are something that you handle as you're working your way through it.

And I think that's important to understand that it's okay if you're feeling anxious around these things, like it's okay to have that emotional connection to it, because we often do find that we're trying to do our best when we're trying to make things just right when we're trying to control, right, that anxiety can kick in there. So if you do experience that it, that's part of that whole process of learning to release.

Sarah Ezrin: Yeah, and I just wanna say I'm not using the word flippantly, I was diagnosed with general, generalized anxiety disorder, which is basically like a low level anxiety, or it can increase to be high level. It can be, it can cause you to be non-functioning, but it's just this kind of underlying dread that you [00:06:00] live with every day different than a phobia, right?

Where you're afraid of spiders and the spider is the cause, but, I think, we forget that anxiety is also an adaptive function and there is a reason that, there are certain species of animals that are a little bit more highly anxious, or there's highly sensitive species as well.

Highly sensitive person is a new kind of personality trait that's being explored. But there's other animals that are like that too, because that attunement and that ability to read your environment is what helps you survive. We can't get rid of it entirely and nor do we want to.

It's a matter of learning to welcome it and get familiar with it. So it's not so scary when it does come up. And to also identify when it is overtaking us. That's a time to seek outside help.

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Now, back to our episode. 

Dawn Calvinisti: Can we talk a little bit about maybe a bit of your history, a bit of the whole growing up aspect? I think that's important, especially when we're talking about things like using the tools of yoga to take that off the mat, to bring that to our children. That we do [00:07:00] have part, partially a nurture response to our atmosphere and our environment.

And so often that's where we can really help support kids is understanding what they take in their atmosphere to heart, what they become sensitive to, what disrupts their world, that type of thing. So can you, do you mind sharing a bit of how you grew up?

Sarah Ezrin: Absolutely. So, you know, and my family is, they're very open about it too. A number of them are in recovery. We've done a lot of work over the years, but as a kid, the household I was born into was quite chaotic. I was the youngest of five children. all they were each, my parents had two kids per parent.

So my mom had two, my dad had two. It was like the Brady Bunch. And then they came together and then they had me. But I was the youngest by 10 years. So all my siblings were all the way up to 15. They were teenagers and they were out and doing what teenagers do. Meanwhile, my mom was an alcoholic.

She hadn't gone into recovery yet. She didn't go into treatment till I was about 16 and my dad was in the [00:08:00] music business. That just sums it up in 1982, it was like there was a lot of movement in the household. Whether it was kids being kicked out because of their misbehavior, or, you know what, my, just whatever goes on, behind the scenes with alcoholism with my mom, which was, she was less of a, like an out there kind of drunk and much more like quiet and sullen, which creates its own anxiety because then you have to read the room because you can never tell what's going on.

And then, with my father was traveling all the time and there was just a lot of like explosiveness and then quiet and explosiveness, and then quiet and love, and then anger and nothing. I see it now in my household just how much more consistent we are with everything and that I really see my sons having solid ground beneath them, and it gives me so much compassion for that little girl whose floor was always moving.

That's what I, that's how I describe it, because whether it was literally moving houses or some sibling getting kicked out, or it was [00:09:00] somebody's energy or emotions because you never knew what they were gonna be feeling. There was never like a consistent thread that well, there was a consistent thread.

That's not true cuz love was always through, but there was not a consistent ground beneath.

Dawn Calvinisti: So When you look back to then, if you were to take what you were teaching in your book and you were to offer that to that little girl, What are some of the things that you would think are high priority for her to establish?

Sarah Ezrin: I mean, it's, you know, I'm doing so much work right now inner child work, right where I have her, I literally, you don't see it, but there's like a picture of me at 12, up above. But I, I think the things, it would be breath, it would be connecting to something anchored within you.

It would be knowing that the, even though the floor is always moving and people are always changing, that your heart and this place inside of you and I don't wanna get too woowoo, but you know, in the yoga world we talk about like the universe, or [00:10:00] whatever, whatever you wanna describe your, if you believe in a higher power, but that there is a greater plan going on around you, that you are being held in and it's much like when you're swimming in the waves of an ocean that you know, the waves are gonna continue to come and come and come, you can start to learn to surrender and that you are being carried. And to say that to a kid is, you know, you would say just very simply, and I am lucky that I was able to say this in my household, is that, like you are safe in this moment and in the moments where I wasn't safe, for explosive anger reasons, to say I am here, I am here with you.

So I don't know who that figure would be, but yeah, just hoping that I can now be that figure to my children and in that way be that figure to that little girl as well.

Dawn Calvinisti: It's always interesting when we start exploring through the eyes of our kids because it mirrors back on us so much. And I'm sure that as you've been, learning in your life and deciding what you want as your principles, as your,[00:11:00] grounded surface in your home, that you definitely are seeing from your kids what they need, how you can reflect that to them, where it triggers you, like all those types of things. What would you say to us who are parents or who even just have nieces and nephews, that type of thing, where there's areas where, you know, we find ourselves wanting to fix, or wanting to, tell 'em to just do it this way, or, why are you doing that?

What would you say to us as we try to navigate those areas that are, frustrations or trigger points to us as the adult?

Sarah Ezrin: It's interesting. So our whole conversation, by the way, if you end up buying the book is for, and I don't mean you specifically cuz you, we'll definitely get you one. But for people that buy the book it's all chapter seven, which is really this idea of practicing non-attachment.

And it doesn't mean that you're detached. That's a totally different concept. But when we were saying, the non-attachment with what we're saying here is the not to micromanage, to be able to sit back, to be that presence that is stable, that is in the background, that is the container for your [00:12:00] children to grow and experience and learn.

And there's two sides to this. Number one. It is managing your own energy to not have to micromanage your children too, like, like this morning, you know, I'll, I'll offer an example and I was torn on how we should handle it, but my son was wearing these yellow rain boots. Now, first of all, it's sunny outside.

Second of all, they fall off all the time. We were like, I was gonna, but then I was like, you know what, let him wear it because he's gonna learn the consequence of that. I was gonna bring some extra shoes in his bag. He's got extra shoes at school. But I wasn't gonna make him change his shoes cuz I wanted him to have the experience of what that choice is.

Now, he was already tripping, like on the way to the garage. So we had to, you know, then we had to change our role and suggest other shoes for him. The freedom in that. I'm really lucky I don't have a power struggle with him. I imagine with the second one that it wouldn't go down like that.

So with the second one, I have to let him learn on his own. I have to let him, [00:13:00] touch the hot, the, not the stove, but the hot cup. I have to let him crawl over the Lego pieces. I can't say no to him and it's an energy management for us. That's one of the benefits. And the second benefit is that they learn more deeply because it's this intrinsic experience.

Dawn Calvinisti: So this is a great kind of transition into what I was thinking as well. So I'm glad that you went with non-attachment because when I think of us as people pleasers, as perfectionists, even as procrastinators, non-attachment is one of the things that I encourage my coaching clients to look at. When they are in that place of having to control things, having to do it just right, having to make sure that others are liking them and is it okay if they do it this way?

And what are people going to think? And so can we talk a little more about what non-attachment looks like when you are trying to live a life, that is free, that you're not feeling, that you're stuck in a mold and have to behave certain ways?

Sarah Ezrin: Yeah. And again, let's return to the spectrum, right? So non-attachment is the [00:14:00] far end of the spectrum, and you can be too unattached, right? That, and that's where you're going into things without any concern. There's no schedule. It's like, eh, you know, whatever will be will be. I mean, we know people like that.

I, or at least in theory, You know, where it's like, it truly just like rolling with the punches. that's not me. I'm at the other end of that where everything needs to be controlled and scheduled and this, but how do we find the middle of those two things? So the non-attachment in those instances has to be the antidote for the controlling to find a middle fulcrum to find our balance.

It's not that we're asking ourselves to swing to the other side. That's an impossibility, but it's really going into something. So, you know, in yoga sometimes you'll see people rub their hands together and throw their arms up into the sky, like fingers open. That's a symbol of letting things go into like, you know, whatever the greater plan is.

You can say a word or a [00:15:00] phrase to yourself like, surrender. I surrender, whatever will be, will be, you know, que sera sera sing the song to yourself and, deep breathing. Like even as we're talking about this, cuz that it's still such my cutting edge. it's reminding me to take the deep breaths because the breaths really show us that everything is a cycle and it's that idea of trusting.

Much like looking to nature, getting outside. II think all of these things because you feel so powerless when you're outside and in by the ocean or in a forest and not powerless in a bad way, but it's so majestic and you're so awestruck that it's like, ah, like I, I'm like, I, there's something bigger going on here.

So I think all those things are really great tools to help us. And then just the reminder that we're not trying to get, I, it's impossible. I, we will never get to the other side of the spectrum. Or maybe you will, and then please write a book and share your experience. So maybe cuz I'm fascinated to know how that goes.

But for [00:16:00] people that we're skewing much more perfectionistic, people pleasing, which is really about control, then you know, it's that middle ground is about showing up doing your best and then ha let it.

Dawn Calvinisti: Yeah. One of the things that I've just actually been writing. And have been blogging about how I've been able to start letting go of control because I, for sure, and I do call myself a recovering people pleaser, recovering perfectionist, but only in the sense that it's something that's a work in process or progress.

Not that I'm ever, like you said, going to reach the total other end of it, but the parts that don't serve me, I certainly want to learn how to let those go. And so I think the one thing that I was writing about was the fact that my morning routine is what has actually helped me let go of the need to control everything in my day.

Because if I can control that small piece and set up a good day, That often then changes my whole attitude about other things that can go by the wayside or at least I don't have to have [00:17:00] such a strict, hand grasp on everything. And so I think that's one of the things that I've really noticed is that my own yoga practice is part of that morning routine.

And I think because it's there in the morning, because it's being on the mat, breathing, having that quiet space, and then being able to walk off the mat with those same feelings of my breath, my body being connected to my mind and not, separate entities, all of that. It's really made a huge difference in the amount of control I need in my day.

So I was just curious because you are definitely in that world. What do you find when it comes to taking your yoga off your mat in the day? What is it that it does for you?

Sarah Ezrin: Well, first I really love your idea of give yourself a little bit so if you need to control something, like here's from, you know, 5:00 AM till 8:00 AM you're in charge and then everything else, trying to practice surrendering. it's, I think that's wonderful. I mean, getting the yoga off the mat is my entire life, right?

Is like I, I practice to live my life. I [00:18:00] practiced as a parent, I practice to be able to hopefully have a conscious career. I know I get a little, work obsessed. it's like this, it all goes into the same areas. To have a healthy partnership, to be able to exist in the world where things are overwhelming and terrifying and you're you, that 24 hour news cycle, all of those things I am preparing for when I come to my mat. So it may look like I'm doing a warrior two pose, right? Which is, a standing pose with the front knee bent and the back leg straighten your arms wide for people that don't know. But a pose like that has, that is both a standing pose, meaning both feet are on the floor.

It's a strength builder. Its name is warrior, right? Like it is a warrior pose. Is so much greater than just making your bum look better, you know? Which, yes. Okay. That is maybe one of the physical benefits and maybe that's what popularizes it. But really what I learn in those moments is I learn how to balance my strength and my softness.

[00:19:00] I learn how to be resilient in the face of discomfort. I learn how to like, and I think that's the biggest thing, right? Being uncomfortable. I learn how to breathe, as you said, and to be able to connect my body, my breath, and my mind, not be separate. And sometimes I do it to feel connected to the earth and connected to others.

So many lessons can come out of just this one shape that you're making with your body.

Dawn Calvinisti: I think that's the part that is the most, both the most enjoyable and takes the longest time to actually really implement right? is understanding that standing here in a shape is not about the shape. It's like really, it's not about the shape. And I think that's, such a good analogy. All those different areas that we can use this practice in order to affect it and to have a life that we really are feeling good about and grounded in, and able then to let go of things that aren't going our way and that we can't control.

Tell me. Sarah, if there was one thing [00:20:00] that you can leave us with today, something, give us a word of wisdom that we could take with us to help us move forward and really let go of those things that aren't serving us when it comes to people pleasing and procrastinating and perfectionism.

Sarah Ezrin: Like they, what was funny, what was coming up? And I was like, oh, talk about it. Talk about it. so I'm glad you asked me that question and gave me the forum, cause that's when I feel like it's something bigger than me is that it's a practice. It's a practice. and I know for perfectionists it's like, what I, but that there's a freedom to that, every day is different.

Every moment is different. And it really is this toggling along the extremes of these different aspects of our personality and different aspects of life. And we are just constantly having to recalibrate and knowing that it's a practice. That we show up every day anew. We show up every day ready to learn and ready to receive.

I think that also helps us bring in this [00:21:00] aspect of surrender and trust, because then you don't have to have all the answers. you're just, you're just learning every day, every moment, every experience is a learning opportunity.

Dawn Calvinisti: so many people I know that are listening to this, you probably could be perpetual students. And so yoga is one of those places where it really lets you be that because you learn every time you're on the mat about yourself. It's never the same. Every time you show up there. Tell us where we can find you.

Where can we connect with you best?

Sarah Ezrin: I love to be connected, so please come find me everywhere. probably most active on Instagram, which is Sarah Ezrin Yoga. I assume. we'll link to that in the show notes probably. I'm also on TikTok. Um, which has been an interesting journey, but I just, you know, it's a fun outlet. It's a creative outlet for me.

It's actually been a really great project for me in not being perfect because it, you just go on there and it's a blooper reel and, and interestingly, that's what's received the most. So that gives me hope for the next generation. and then [00:22:00] of course, my website,, and then the book, the Yoga of Parenting is available.

 And yeah, all the places. All the places. And please do reach out if you have questions or thoughts or concerns or anything. I love being connected.

Dawn Calvinisti: Thank you. So we're gonna put all of that in the show notes, and if you order the book off of Shambhala Publications, you can actually use the code YP30. And that way you'll get 30% off of the actual book, which is awesome. I can't wait to read it. I always enjoy speaking with you, so I am looking forward to it.

And if you're watching on YouTube, then you can see how beautiful the book is behind Sarah, it looks amazing. 

Sarah Ezrin: Yeah, they did a wonderful, it just arrived. It just arrived. So I'm like, you can see it's like a little shiny. There's some embossment. I love the font. They did a really great job with it. I'm, and it just makes me happy. I just love the colors.

Dawn Calvinisti: So great, so great. Well, congratulations again on your book coming out. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. [00:23:00] I loved seeing you again.

Sarah Ezrin: thank you. I love, always love chatting with you and thank you for all you're doing, for all of us, recovering perfectionists, whatever we wanna call it. And real quick, I like recovering because again, it's that practice, it's all a practice.

It's all a progress. it's just showing up every day and doing our best and then letting go.


Thanks for listening to today's show. If you found value in what you heard, please share it with a friend and rate and review us on whatever platform you listen on. It really helps get us out to other women who could benefit from listening. 

Check out our show notes for details from the show and to connect with me or our guests. Want to continue the conversation? My website is or DM me @pursueprogresswithdawn on Instagram. 

Until next week, pursue progress no matter how imperfectly.




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