In the teachings of yoga, tension is experienced and released on three levels. The first and most obvious is the physical, next the emotional and finally the mental. In parenting it is the same thing. Our outward manifestations of tension, stress, worry, fear is in the physical—yelling, tone of voice, language, facial expressions. These physical aspects are underlined by the emotional—frustration, anger, exhaustion, defeat, hopelessness. But underneath it all is the mental—our perceptions, the ideas and beliefs we hold about ourselves and our children, the standards of behavior we buy into, our expectations. In order to effect change in our physical and emotional reactions to our children, we must address our mental state. How is it that you see and think of your children? Are they in general a pain in the neck? Do they never listen or do what they’re told? Do you doubt everything and think you don’t know what to do? Or do you feel confident in yourself, mistakes and all? Do you know that this too will pass? Are you able to drop into the moment with your child without focus on the past or future? Your mental state is what starts it all. How you think of yourself, how you think of your children informs everything you do. It is this mental strain that needs releasing. Practice breathing into it.