I always heard that our children can be our greatest teachers, but never fully understood it until now. Yoga is a big part of my life and I try to take the ideas and principles that I learn in my yoga practice into my daily life. My daughter, June, has been doing yoga with me since she was just a few months old. She turned one this summer, and as I watch her grow and develop, I’ve started to notice that a lot of the yogic principles that I try to practice in my everyday life seem to come very naturally to her. While I try to take my yoga practice “off the mat and into the world” as they say, it takes conscious effort on my part. In watching my one year old, I’m learning that the things that I am striving for are second nature to her. This little soul is so wise and is teaching me so much. Over the last year, I’ve picked up on some of her natural tendencies that are supporting her as she grows. 3 key yogic principles have really stood out to me in the way she approaches the world, and have made me want to implement them in my own life.
1) Be Present – June is completely 100% present through her daily life. She is always totally focused on the task at hand, never thinking about what happened last night, or what she’s going to be eating later today. Instead, she devotes herself fully and wholeheartedly to whatever is going on RIGHT NOW. The present moment is really all we ever have; it is our greatest gift. Being present is the best gift we can give to ourselves and the people around us. Our children seem to realize this effortlessly.
2) Be Flexible – My daughter’s little body is so flexible. It’s amazing to watch the ways in which she contorts her little legs, squatting down into goddess pose, doing half splits effortlessly, falling down, and then bouncing back up. Her personality is just as flexible as her limbs. She can go from throwing a tantrum one moment, to laughing and giggling in the next. She doesn’t hold grudges, doesn’t stress out, doesn’t feel anxious… she simply moves on from one activity to the next, from one emotion to the next. She feels each emotion wholeheartedly, but doesn’t stay wrapped up in one feeling for too long. This is a lesson that we can all learn as adults; to be flexible in body and spirit.
3) Be Real – My daughter is completely real at all times. If she doesn’t want to eat her dinner, she’ll make it known by throwing it on the floor. If she’s upset about something, she’ll wail, scream, and cry to let you know it. If she’s having a good time, she’ll bounce up and down, dance around, and throw her head back in joyful laughter. Whatever she is feeling, she goes all in. She is completely real, all of the time. As adults, we don’t let our emotions be shared full out. We dim our true feelings, or worse, hide them completely. We don’t want to be too enthusiastic or too upset for fear of being judged. We can take a lesson from our children and stop caring so much about our appearances. Children teach us to get real about our feelings, express them fully, and let others in to our inner landscape.
My little yogini is my greatest teacher. At one year old, she knows so much that I have forgotten. She is my daily reminder to keep going back to these principles. She inspires me to practice being present, flexible, and real in my own life. In observing her, I see that this is the most beautiful way to be in the world.
I hope this message serves you.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about how you can bring these principles into your life, check out my Mama Bird Meditation Group! 🙂 We will be gathering each week as a group of mindful mamas to support each other in building self care practices to become happier and more peaceful so that we are better able to care for our families. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, I would absolutely love to have you be part of it!