You cannot deny that the world has sort of flipped on us overnight. Life as we know it, is for sure upside down. I don’t know about you, but for our family it has gone from being stressful, confusing and caught us off guard.
With that said as I considered the many topics I could write about I found myself starting with one paragraph and hitting the delete button several times. For some reason it didn’t feel right. Just about when I was into my third paragraph of a different topic I heard the following tune in the background
“What the world needs now is love, sweet love … It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
It was the classic by Jackie DeShannon “What the World Needs Now” and it hit me right away. There are plenty of conversations about stress and tension going on. What we need right now is something that will help our family and children process all that is going, and just like that Meditation and Yoga came to mind.
I have practiced Meditation & Yoga for the past eight years. It all started when I was pregnant with my now seven-year-old after the doctor suggested I slow down as my pregnancy was at high risk. I had never tried it before and thought of it as too slow and not very challenging to fulfill my physical exercise demands.
Nonetheless I needed to take care of my baby by taking care of myself. So as soon as I got home, I googled Yoga and a long list of videos on how to do it came up. To be honest it was overwhelming, but I managed to find one to try.
While it was a bit frustrating not “feeling” the effect as strong as I did when I went for a jog, my body soon realized that it was for sure leaving an effect that I had not experienced before. But the true moment of discovery took place when I finally got my body and mind to sync.
Shortly after I was blessed with a beautiful baby girl with the given name of Nyah. At that point I was now dealing with a postpartum body shock. Yes, even though it was my third child, it still hit me very hard when I saw the condition my body had been left on. Add on the fact I had a c-section and my options for exercise were pretty small. So I of course continued with yoga and I must say it did wonders physically and mentally while my body recovered from it all.
Forward time and Nyah has grown up a bit. She loves to be active and likes to run around as fast as she can. She is such a good runner she truly leaves me behind on the track. Out of my three kids Nyah is my workout buddy. I started working out with her for 1:1 time and of course with the hopes I could wear her out. The 1:1 time is precious but no, I have not succeeded in wearing her out.
Every child and family are different. But we can all agree that the family experience in 2020 so far has been a rollercoaster and it is about to get even more wild.
Change causes stress and stress causes miscommunication from time to time. Add on being a parent and there you have another layer to manage on top of everything else you have.
For an example of what that would look like, think of what a spilled glass of milk would’ve done to your day six months ago. Back then it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal, but today?
Today, a glass of milk spilling isn’t just about spilled milk but about a necessary back to the grocery store you had hoped you could avoid or are supposed to avoid.
Yoga and meditation have a way of helping counter the pressures of life. I found yoga as an adult, but I am a firm believer that yoga and meditation should be introduced as early in life as you can.
Yoga and meditation teach the following core and fundamental values: Self Health, Relaxation, Self Esteem, Body Awareness, Sensitivity and Compassion. All while it provides a non competitive experience where children of all ages from babies to teens can go at their own pace.
The physical health benefits of course are great as well. And while most of us can be skeptical as we don’t see it as challenging as other sports, it is in fact the opposite. When children practice yoga their body is strengthened with flexibility, endurance, coordination, stability and stamina.
As adults we are molded by our experiences but imagine what an advantage your child will have if you give him/her a bag of tools to make sure the experiences do not take away from the person they are.
Yoga and meditation provide the perfect combination of mental and physical skills required to not get lost in the world. It provides a clear path of relaxing when chaos brings abrupt changes or stops.
When a person young or adult is in touch with who they are, they become more resilient, compassionate and are a source of love and peace that affects those around him/her and helps them thrive on the things they love.
And yes, I know there are lots of options but allow me to make my case. As with anything with parenting the first two or three times, you try it can be rocky to say the least. But I can guarantee you that if you stick with it you will see the benefits and the light that will bring in your child’s mental and physical health.
As times become temporarily uncertain, yoga and meditation have another hidden benefit that you should not overlook and that is that is simple enough to do at home and it doesn’t cost! You do not need any special equipment other than a mat or perhaps a rug you already have at home.
If you do not have a mat, perhaps you have some of those foam tiles your kids have in their playroom. Those are perfect!
As you practice yoga you will be able to see your child learning how to sync their minds with the body. Yoga movements are unique in a way that it gives you a sense of power and accomplishment that carries into everything you do. So whatever you work on with your mind or your body it affects both.
And while you might be thinking, “No way my child could sit through that,” Let me tell you: he/she won’t have to, because yoga isn’t about sitting around. Yoga is one of the highest physical challenges for the body and the mind and once you get the buy in from your kids, trust me they will want more because it is a challenge if you want to make it that.
So if I was able to catch your interest let me suggest to you how to start. First of all as with anything you have to be excited if you want your kids to try it out. Be patient! Yes, it is going to be one or two times before you get into an actual yoga routine, especially if you want to incorporate a significant part of meditation to the mix. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day!
Make sure that it never stops being fun! Encourage and celebrate every move or position your child tries. Find music to go with your session and let your child take turns on picking what the songs will be.
Children who feel part of the process both at school and at home do better! So, when the time is right, make sure you let him/her lead the session and why not suggest or even teach!
Last but not least this is precious 1:1 time. Be prepared to pause if your child wants to share something with you. Taking a moment to pause and listen will make it known to them that it isn’t about being quiet or solemn, but about staying mentally and physically fit, but above all, about spending quality 1:1 time.
My daughter Nyah is Ms. Active girl! She likes to talk, dance, jump and do somersaults and some could say she is a fireball. But even her hyper spirit enjoys the moments yoga brings into our lives. I can see how her mind responds to her body as they sync and reach a point of peace that no other activity we do gives her.
Some of the most beautiful conversations I’ve had with her have been on the yoga mat. And no we are no experts, in fact we are far from! But that’s the thing about yoga, you do not have to be an expert to reap the benefits! All you have to do is try it, go at your own pace and grow together as you do it with your child.
Miriam is a mother of three. She considers herself a bi-decade mom having a sophomore in college and a second grader in grade school she has experienced how the parenting experience evolves as you “grow” as a parent and as the times we live in change. Having been raised by two hands on and loving parents she understands the impact parenting has upon an individual, communities and the world as a whole. She does not know all the ins and outs of parenting, but she does know one thing: Whatever you do, if you do it with love, you are on the right track!