I am guilty of getting my Om on, at the expense of my little one.Â Sesame Street is the free sitter while I do yoga.Â I sometimes tune out my son’s imaginary play because I’m in meditation.Â And there are days when I race through his bedtime rituals so I can enjoy my own evening ritual of a hot bath.
Certainly, I have learned the importance of taking care of myself and I understand that Healthy moms equal Healthy babies.Â In fact, I often preach a fact that I picked up from a doctor: that the healthiest minded adults are those who grew up watching their parents celebrate and nurture their own lives, rather than giving all of themselves to their children. But, as is usually the case in life, achieving balance is the only road to a successful-self. The key is to have a spiritual practice, while also parenting with spirit.Â And to understand that since I have a mini-me, an extension of myself, my human trinity (mind, body, and soul) is squared.Â
Remarkably, a woman’s emotional state affects her child prior to birth.Â Author and well known Obstetrician, Christiane Northrup shares
â€œif a pregnant mother is going through high levels of fear or anxiety she creates a â€œmetabolic cascade.â€ Hormones known as cytokines are produced and the mother’s immune system is affected, including her child’s. Chronic anxiety in the mother can set the stage for a whole array of trauma based results such as prematurity, complications of birth, death, and miscarriage. The opposite is also true. When the mother is feeling healthy and happy, she produces oxytocin. This is often called the molecule of belonging. The presence of this component creates feelings of bonding and strengthens immunity in the baby. â€¦â€
So if you do yoga, have a massage, or go on a babymoon while pregnant, it is beneficial to both you and your unborn child. Self-care actually results in caring for another.Â This awareness to nurture yourself and your child concurrently is crucial, especially during the early years.Â Author and Hay House founder Louise Hay says â€œAlmost all of our programming, both negative and positive, was accepted by us by the time we were three years old.Â Our experiences since then are based upon what we accepted and believed about ourselves and about life at the time.â€
So, how do you find your chi and extend it to your child’s? Below, some picked-up wisdom to help with the process:Â
Mind: Â My son was only four months old when I began looking into â€œtoolsâ€ to buildÂ his IQ.Â Even if it promised to improve his IQ just one point I bought it- dvds, flash cards, puzzles, and counting books.Â However, the mind needs more than just school subject material. Â Now, a little more enlightened, I understand that mind also encompasses self-esteem, confidence, and self-awareness.Â The need for psychologist, gurus, and retreats that we all seem to require later in life would likely be lessened if â€œthe selfâ€ was focused on more in school.Â Â Luckily, educators are taking note. This past August, the Omega Center hosted a conference titled: Mindfulness & Education Conference, Bringing Mindfulness Practice to Children Grades K-12.Â Their objective:
The new field of teaching mindfulness in our nation’s schools is a profoundly beneficial development for the education of children from grades K through 12. Research shows that mindfulness decreases stress, attention deficit issues, depression, anxiety, and hostility in children, while benefiting their health, well-being, social relations, and academic performance. Children can easily learn these techniques, and when learned young, they become lifelong tools.
If your school has no such program, you can supplement with valuable reading material.Â Powerful books include Unstoppable Me!: 10 Ways to Soar Through Life Â by Dr. Wayne Dyer, I Think, I Am!: Teaching Kids the Power of Affirmations by Louise Hay and You with the Stars in Your Eyes: A little girl’s glimpse at Cosmic Consciousness by Deepak Chopra, M.D. And if you can’t imagine parting with your flash cards, Gaaim offers Xeko Card games that teach about the natural wonders and spirit of the Earth.Â Â
Body:Â What a blessing that children yoga studios are popping up in many communities and schools are now offering yoga as part of their curriculum.Â Hopefully we can continue and carry this enthusiasm, helped if adults encourage it equal to baseball and soccer.Â I’m hoping Yoga Mom will be the new bumper sticker on minivans.Â If you can’t get to a class, just lay a mat out in your living room and see if your child gets creative.Â Letting children choose their own yoga poses benefits their body and imagination.Â There are also great home videos such as YogaKids and Rodney Lee’s Family Yoga.Â Also, take a walk with your child – a fantastic activity that allows for deep breathing and bonding.Â
Along with the body, of course, comes nutrition.Â Don’t assume that kids require kid food. Â I often look at the children’s menu and wonder why adults get to choose among salads and fish and we are servingÂ our kids fried chicken and potatoes.Â Ignore the children’s menu and share a dish with your child or order an appetizer from a healthier adult entreeâ€“ organic, hormone-free, local whenever possible.Â Remember, the smaller the body, the more affected by toxins.Â Also, just like you need to take supplements for optimal health, encourage your children to do the same.Â I recommend high quality, pharmaceutical grade vitamins – the only way to ensure there are no traces of contaminants, such as lead, within the vitamin.Â
If you keep your energy happy, light, and free; your child will mirror.Â Parents know that if you yourself are feeling tense, your child picks up on it. The first day of school is just one of the many examples in life when this is obvious.Â Even from infancy, children can feel positive and negative energy from others.Â A New York Times Magazine article titled, The Moral Life of Babies , details a study at Yale’s Infant Cognition Center in which infants younger than one are seen responding to â€œnaughtyâ€ and â€œniceâ€ puppets.Â This is why nurturing a child’s core is essential at a young age. Â One way to do so is through meditation.Â Indigo Dreams is a great mediation serious for children and a great activity to do together during that afternoon â€œquiet time.â€Â Also, remember that music feeds the soul.Â Putumayo is a fantastic music series for children and so are programs such as Music Together in which parent and child can freely dance and sing.Â Two invaluable books on parenting the spirit are Deepak’s Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents : guiding your children to success and fulfillmentÂ and Peggy Jenkins’ Nurturing spirituality in children : simple hands-on activities.Â
The end of a yoga session (after focusing on Mind Body and Spirit), is acknowledged with the word Namaste.Â One of the Sanskrit interpretations of this salutation is â€œI honor the place in you in which the entire Universe dwells, I honor the place in you which is of Love, of Integrity, of Wisdom and of Peace. When you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, we are One.â€Â Our children are of us and our job is to nurture their universe and keep secure their beauty and purity.