It stands to reason that if yoga is an integral part of your daily life, it will inevitably infuse itself into the lives of your children. Sort of like how every word that comes out of your mouth, will eventually come out of theirs… The fact is, children are learning about the world and everything we say and do will influence how they communicate with the world in some way. That sounds a little frightening, because I mean, who is a perfect role model for their child every second of the day? Luckily, I have this yoga thing that will help to balance things out and offer a positive example for my little people to learn from.
The usefulness of breathing and moving the body, I feel can only be beneficial to the physical and psychological well being of my little humans who possess sponge-like minds and an uninhibited sense of freedom in movement. From the time my little girl was able to see, she has most definitely witnessed me practicing yoga. She has heard me chant and now does it too. I have taught her different breathing techniques which, even though they are still more just play, will help her to deal with the stress and anxiety that she may be confronted with in her future.
When I stand at the top of my mat and begin my practice with the opening chant, my little girl will OM with me and then hum along for the rest of it. My little guy even gets in on the humming part, lol. She will even start doing some sun salutations with me, her little pink mat next to mine. After a few minutes, she finds something else to do, but I think it’s a good start for a 4 year old. She can hear me breathing deeply, sometimes I repeat my mantra for difficult poses out loud. Mine is actually a yoga sutra. She can hear me repeating “Sthira sukham asanam”. This sutra basically translates to mean grounded or steadiness and gentle ease or effortless effort. For her to hear the Sanskrit and see how I am using this may not make any sense to her in a conscious way, but the sort of energy created may illuminate a palpable strength of effort and determination. Both of these things, I hope she will find to be within her own repertoire of assets as she grows.
For children of this age group, my daughter being 4 and my son almost 2, it is sometimes difficult for them to articulate their feelings. It is also beyond the ability of a 2 year old to comprehend logic and reason and so tantrums happen as an emotional outburst on the regular. Teaching them both to breathe deeply and slowly is physiologically calming, and it takes their minds off of what has been upsetting them too. Bhramari is a breathing technique used to calm the mind and soothe the brain. It is easy and fun for kids because they get to make the sound of a bee! We take a deep breath and then hum as we exhale slowly. Since it is like a game, they don’t even know how it is helping to diffuse their anger or frustration. For my daughter, we can talk about whatever problem that was making her feel upset far more easily afterwards. For my son, we only do this for fun until he gets a bit older and will do it when I tell him it will help.
I think my 4 year old will be ready to try learning to do some simple chants soon. I have learned several and I think it will be a great way to build concentration and focus as well as calm and produce positive energy. Who doesn’t want that? So you see, yoga really is for human beings of any age. I even remember playing yoga chants and songs as relaxation when my daughter was a baby. Yoga lullabies! So my message for this writing is really to find ways to share your beautiful yoga practices with your children and really anyone who will let you. There is really nothing like sharing something you revere, respect, enjoy, love and feel grateful to have:)