I love my yoga practice. I often refer to going to class as heading to church, because for me, the lessons fill my soul. The rigour of the movements wrings out my anxiety and quiets my overactive brain. Challenging my body while listening to its needs and limits was something I had never considered through years of gruelling boot camps and training where I would push to my max every time. Or try to top my personal best, even in the face of injuries. I measured my worth in pounds lifted or speed achieved, or distance clocked all the while feeling like a failure. Enter yoga: the practice of acceptance, inner peace and mindfulness among so many other things. The magic of the yoga practice spills out into every facet of life, especially how we parent.
1. Gratitude is everything.
When we live life with a grateful heart, our heart is open to receive abundance. Our brains become rewired to release dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitters. We become contented and radiant from the inside. Over time, we begin effortlessly modelling this for our children, teaching them to be grateful and appreciative of all they have. We help them to recognize and celebrate the loving, supportive, caring people in their life. We teach our children to be content with precisely what they have right now. We foster a strong sense of connectedness to their support system. Children need to feel connected, valued, and a sense of belonging. It is as vital as oxygen.
2. We are one.
Racism, sexism, bigotry, elitism, ableism, homophobia… none of these things can occur when we understand we are all one. Yoga practice closes with the instructor saying namasté, which means, “My soul honours your soul. I honour the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honour the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things, we are united, we are the same, we are one.”. If a more perfect message to impart unto our children exists, I cannot imagine what it is.
3. Stay with your breath.
When the world feels too big, a problem too difficult, a loss too mammoth, a failure too crushing, we need to shrink the size of the world right down for our kids. One hand over heart, one hand over the belly and feel the rise and fall of your breath and the beating of your heart. Sit in stillness until the overwhelm melts away. No matter what life throws at us, we can always return to our breath.
Too many thoughts! Part 2 to follow…
Paula Presswood is a former teacher turned entrepreneur. She can mostly be found blogging, doing yoga, drinking tea, chasing around after her three teenagers and sampling delicious appetizers with her crazy magician husband. She is Co-founder of Presswood Entertainment and The ThoughtFull Board. Follow Paula on instagram