Tag Archives: parenting

Disconnecting to Connect

IMG_1449A Heart of Love made by Gail Spirit Sky

 

 

It is etiquette to turn off your cell phone upon entering a yoga studio.  This practice helps us to drop into the present moment and tune into our breath, sensations and the community in the room.  I’ve taken this practice off the mat and into my life.    This summer I’ve dedicated Tuesdays to spending time with both my kids.  During this time, I’m not checking email or Instagram, I’m present to my kids and our experiences together.  Our connections have strengthened from this practice of disconnecting from the digital world and connecting to each other.   We laugh and “play” together.   I get to really listen to my children and bear witness to their hopes, dreams and thoughts on life.  I’ve noticed how my teenage daughter is also able to stay present to us and, not check her phone every time she hears a chime signaling a new text.  I notice I feel less stressed and therefore, my family is less stressed.  I know this time with my kids is so precious and fleeting.  I want them to know that I’m really there for them.  I also want to instill a practice/habit in them that they learn to stay connected to those in front of them instead of the virtual world.    I can’t help but wonder, what message are we sending our loved ones when  they are trying to talk to us and, we are so focused on our phone.

Your children need your presence more than your presents. ~Jesse Jackson

“We’re living in an era where capturing moments using our phones is more important than actually living these moments with whoever is beside us.”  Unknown

On Children

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The other day while listening to  Super Soul Sunday with Dr. Shefali, Oprah read the poem On Children by Kahlil Gibran.  This poem really spoke to me!  I believe our children are independent souls and do not have to think and behave as we do.  We can love and learn from them and nurture them for who they are as unique beings.  My children inspire me everyday as I watch them grow.  I admire their confidence  and strong sense of self as they move thru childhood sometimes breaking from the cultural norms.

On Children

KahlilGibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

Put on Your Oxygen Mask First

If you’ve ever flown before, you’ve heard this statement, “In the event of an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down, please put  your mask on first before assisting children or others.”  This serves as a reminder that we need to care for ourselves before we can care for others.  As women, it is part of our nature to be the care-givers of the people in our lives, while also caring for our homes and maintaining a career outside of the home.   We, at least many of us, tend to place our needs and desires last on the list.  I invite you to make a change and “put on your oxygen mask first”!  I often find that, when I take some time for myself, I  have all that much more energy and love to give to my family.   So, make a date with yourself!  Below are some suggestions if you’re at a loss for where to begin.  Enjoy!  Please share in the comment section your self care ideas.

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*Sit outside and read a good book

*Enjoy a cup of tea and some quiet time

*Take a relaxing bath

*Practice yoga alone or take a class with some friends

*Practice some restorative yoga

*Take a walk and be with nature

*Share a meal with friends

*Get a massage

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
Eleanor Brownn

 

 

Parent and Child Yoga Minutes

The truth of the matter is that I have reaped so many benefits from my yoga and meditation/mindfulness practice that yes, I would love for my entire family to practice on a daily basis with me.  I will say, my daughter does enjoy going to class with me when she is not hanging with her friends.  My son well, I think if he could teach the class he would practice yoga.  And my husband would rather play his guitar.  I have discovered a way to incorporate yoga into my son’s life. After attending a 1 day Workshop on Yoga 4 Classrooms in which I received this lovely deck of cards, my son and I started our Yoga Minutes.  In the morning just before going out to the bus stop, he chooses a card or two.  The cards have a pose and a description of how to do the pose as well as benefits of the pose.  There are also various visualizations and breath practices in the deck.  He and I look forward to choosing our card and, giggling always becomes part of the practice too. Another tool for mindfulness in our mornings is an app I have on my phone that I can set to chime at certain times.  When we hear the chime, we stop what we’re doing and take a breath or do wiggly tree.  These Yoga Minutes have proven to be a great way to incorporate mindfulness and yoga into my son’s life and mine.  My hope is that these minutes will provide him with tools for his daily life to manage his emotions and the stresses that children incur in this hectic world of ours.

I would love to hear in the comment section how you and your family incorporate yoga and mindfulness into your lives.

 

yoga cards

 

“Simple practices like conscious breathing and smiling are very important. They can change our civilization.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

Feel Your Feet

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Last night on my way home from work I received a phone call from my husband that he and my children were at the emergency room.  My daughter had fallen and hit her head.  They wanted to be sure she did not suffer a major concussion.  I felt my feet on the gas and floor of my car and said a prayer.  Walking into the hospital, I kept my awareness in my feet feeling the firm ground beneath each step.  When I met up with my family back in the room I told my daughter to feel her feet and I placed my hands on her feet.  She closed her eyes and her breathing slowed as did mine.  When the doctor examined her they thought everything was mild but wanted to do an x-ray of her neck because of her neck pain.  This entire experience was all new to my daughter, luckily, she has never had to go to the hospital.  Once in the lab room for x-rays, I saw her anxiety increase.  I once again told her to press her feet into the chair and she calmed.   I was amazed how calm we both were throughout the entire ordeal.  To all of our relief, everything looked good and we were sent home.  Today she is feeling better and we are all grateful for this new day!  Life is so precious!  These simple words have been the most powerful tool in my life that I learned from my Urban Zen Training.  Whenever I’m feeling anxious or scattered, I feel my feet.  Whether I’m standing or sitting, I bring my attention to my feet and I really notice the firm ground under my feet.  From this planted place, my breath naturally slows and my mind quiets allowing me to think clearer and to be present. When I’m working with a patient or client that is experiencing anxiety, nausea and or exhaustion, “feel your feet” are often the first words out of my mouth.  When we feel our feet, we drop into our body and can immediately feel a sense of connection to the earth and a feeling of calm presence.  Allowing us the ability to proceed with conscious awareness.

Give this a try.  I would love to hear in the comment section below how this affects your life.

“When you take your attention into the present moment, a certain alertness arises.  You become more conscious of what’s around you, but also, strangely, a sense of presence that is both within and without.  Eckhart Tolle

 

Spring Cleaning Week 4

It is popular in our culture to say how busy you are.   As a parent, we can feel pressured to be on every committee and sign our children up for several sports, piano lessons, art lessons and, encourage them to achieve top grades.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there are many well intentioned people and parents out there and we are all doing the best we can.  Employers are expecting more work out of fewer people and, with technology, we can stay connected 24/7.  Just writing this, makes me feel a bit anxious and exhausted.  I thrive with a full schedule of teaching yoga but realize I need some down time to be by myself and with my family and friends.  I’m encouraging you and myself to find balance.  Consider your schedule and your children’s schedule if, you have children, and, see what, if anything, can be removed.  What are the things that you dread doing or what activities do you have to beg your children to participate in.  These are the items to extract first.  Then notice how you feel.  Make note in this process of what it is you really want to do and make time for that.  Simplifying our schedule offers us more time to do the things we love and spend time with our family and friends.  I highly recommend Laura Thompson Brady’s Class again this week as she helps you with this process as well.

http://www.thenourishedhome.com/hectic-to-harmonious/

I also recommend the book Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne for the parents out there.  Have a lovely week.  I hope you have some time to enjoy the Spring weather!

“In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trips to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime, Saturday morning pancakes.”
Kim John Payne

 

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Spring Cleaning Week 2

Clutter can leave us feeling bogged down energetically as well as mentally.  When I have clutter, I have trouble focusing and getting things done.  I feel a sense of underlying low level anxiety and stress.  I, like many of you, do not have entire days off when I can clean and de-clutter so I’m left with where to start?!  Recently I completed Laura Thompson Brady’s e-course “Hectic to Harmonious”. http://www.thenourishedhome.com/   This course was amazing and really helped me to set small achievable goals.  One part of the e-course was simplifying your home.   She suggested to pick one small corner or one small area and envision what you want it to look like and feel like and de-clutter or reorganize that one small area.  WOW!  This had a huge impact on me and my family’s  energy level and mental health.  I started with bookshelves as I love books.  I reorganized and gave away books that were no longer age appropriate or ones that were no longer of interest to me.  The energy I obtained from this small task encouraged me to continue this process when I had even just 15 spare minutes.  My son’s art table was my most recent project.  This table is in our kitchen and is one of the first things I see when I walk into my home from the laundry room.  It is a “catch-all” for my son.  If he doesn’t want to take the time to put it away, he puts it on the art table.  I found some great ideas on Pinterest for organizing pencils and crayons  and placed a large piece of white paper on the table.  It looks wonderful and it feels so great to walk into my kitchen now.  I invite you to pick one small corner of your home and de-clutter.  I would love to hear how this affects your life!

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