My oldest son’s birthday is this Wednesday, and as I’ve been running around designing the perfect star wars lego party — ordering party supplies, food, a lego shaped cake — I sometimes wonder if I should focus more on giving him the very best gift I can give him, me!
My husband and I recently completed a six week parenting class, something I highly recommend. Having the opportunity to take time with my husband and like-minded parents to discuss the challenges we all face as parents — roll play and strategize ways to handle conflicts with our children, formulate strategies for facing difficult situations with our children — was a life-changing experience. So much of what I learned struck a chord with me, and a great deal of it reminded me of my yoga practice.
In class, we learned to “turn off the inner critic” — you know that voice, the one that tells you that you just don’t quite measure up like you should. That voice keeps you in the PAST, it’s guilt, shame, regret. We also learned to quiet the “what if/OMG” voice. The voice that invents possible but not likely consequences of our actions. That voice keeps you worried about the FUTURE. Rather, talk to yourself like you would a dear friend. Treat yourself with compassion and understanding.
Our children live in the PRESENT. They don’t dwell on past experiences or worry about the future. If we want to truly connect with our children, we must live in the present with them. One of the most powerful tools you can use to be in the present is your body. Your body ONLY lives in the present. One of my teachers once said, you must exhaust the physical body to quiet the mind. Boy does that work! It’s nearly impossible to think of my to do list in the middle of a challenging strength or balancing sequence in class.
My yoga practice challenges me physically and mentally, but that hard work brings great peace of mind and contentment. I aim to live fully in the present and share that most precious gift with my children.