I’ve been off the grid for a few weeks and was pleasantly surprised when a follower messaged me to see when my next post would be released. The truth is, life has been super heavy lately and I simply found myself struggling to put “pen-to-paper.” I was feeling guilty and disappointed in myself for not following through on my promise to put out weekly posts, but when these periods in my life happen, I need time to reflect and disengage, so that I can refocus my outlook.
Without out going into a ton of detail, let’s just say life happened and I found my struggling to cope. I knew better than to let my fear and emotions takes over, but I am human and needed to feel what I needed to feel.
When life throws me these curveballs, I know I am being tested and that there is a greater lesson to be learned. I also know that in the absence of love, we become lost, sometimes jaded and fearful.
Over time, I have learned that the absence of love can leads us to make decisions and to do things that may not be good for us. It also causes us to lose sight of the things we are passionate about, which in turn affects how we see the world around us. When this happens, we lose sight of our purpose and the role we all have in in the world. This is what happened to me and fortunately, as the fog began to lift, I was able to come back to my “why,” and to see how this moment was helping me get clear on certain things in my life.
While my life purpose remains to be a work in progress, I have never been more clear about who and what I want to be at this point in my life including:
- Being the best mom I can be to my daughters;
- Being the best wife and partner I can be to my husband;
- Being the best daughter, sister and friend;
- Sharing my love of yoga with children and their families; and
- Sharing my life learnings and lessons with the hope they might help others.
So, that’s where I’ve been at the past few weeks. I am slowly coming around, but I am back and excited to pick-up where I left off!
What the heck does this have to do with kids needing yoga more than ever?
During these challenging periods, I typically turn to my yoga and meditation practice to help get my mind right because when the mind is right, everything else just seems to fall into place.
Now imagine if our children were able to do the same thing or had the tools to help them get to this point. This is what I want for my children and for all children, and why kids today need yoga in their lives more than ever.
I can’t tell you the number of times a parent has said to me that they wished they had learned about yoga earlier in their life. When I ask them why, their response usually has something to do with learning to better manage stress and anxiety earlier in life; exploring ways to create mental clarity; or finding more inner peace while increasing their overall energy.
I doubt there are many people who will disagree with me when I say that we are living in pretty interesting times and that parenting in today’s world is much different than 30 years ago. Parents are busier than ever. Kids are being faced with school pressures, incessant lessons to be learned, vast information, video games, malls and competitive sports. Add to this list the age of the smartphone and the rise of social media, and you pretty much have a complex recipe for being a kid and raising a kid.
Fortunately there are things we can do as parents to help our children navigate today’s world without having to take drastic measures such as banning technology altogether (a suggestion once made by my mother) or moving to the middle of nowhere away (ha!). This is the world we live in, and we have the choice to adapt and manage how we function within it. The same goes for how we teach our children to do the same.
Benefits of yoga for children
Yoga provides so many wonderful benefits for children and can be one of the best ways to counter societal pressures if practiced consistently.
Some of the benefits of yoga for children include:
- Learning breathing and visualization techniques that help them to better focus and center themselves. As their focus increases, they are able to breathe better, naturally releasing and reducing cortisol (the stress hormone).
- They become stronger physically, have increased flexibility and become more aware of their body and how it moves. Children with healthy body awareness tend to be more self-confident, breathe better and are less prone to injury.
- They are able to practice self-reflection and mindfulness because they are given the time and space to get in touch with their feelings and emotions. This ultimately leads to becoming more empathetic and the ability to better connect with others.
- They get to be creative and have fun.
- Simply put, they get to be kids.
There are many tools you can use to teach yoga to children and sometimes knowing where to start can be very overwhelming, so over the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the tools I use with my own students and children including, games, meditations, breath practices, book suggestions, easy to follow yoga sequences, yoga poses and more.
Like many of the parents I have met, I wish I had discovered yoga much earlier in my life, but yoga is a journey and I believe it comes too you when you need it most. Children today need to be armed with tools that can help them manage and cope when the going gets tough, and as Deepak Chopra’s daughter Malika once said, “meditation, mindfulness techniques, and yoga are age-old practices that have survived generations. For today’s kids these techniques are as relevant as ever.”