Tag Archives: perceptions

How to Get to Calm: Lessons from the Oregon Trail
Getting to Calm

What would it take for you to stay calm when it comes to managing your kids’ behavior? Sometimes it feels like a herculean task.

Remember the Oregon trail? One wagon after another followed the tracks made by earlier wagons. The ruts got deeper and deeper as more wagons rode west. In places, a person could stand in ruts up to their waist. It would have been impossible for a wagoneer to veer off in another direction.

When we react to our children the same way over and over, we dig ourselves into emotional and behavioral ruts. Ruts run especially deep when they stem from beliefs we hold about ourselves learned in childhood. If you believe you’re never good enough, a disappointment, or unlovable, etc. from remarks made by parents or teachers, those beliefs stick and can drive your behavior.

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Yoga Meets Parenting

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.

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