What Toddlers Teach About Yoga & Life

by Milissa on January 15, 2012

in Breath,Children,Yoga

Hint: It’s about much more than doing a great Down Dog!

I love BEing with toddlers. Sure, they’re SOOOO busy it can be exhausting trying to keep up with them. And they can be fussy (which is, of course, a euphemism). Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what they need when they’re upset, especially when they don’t have words to express their feelings and desires.

And when they don’t get what they want…

…well let’s just say it isn’t always pretty!

What helps everybody involved during a toddler’s meltdown

? ? ? ?

Love ‘em up and then let ‘em go go go
. . . . .

It’s true, once they feel safe and nurtured they are back at it, doing their toddler thing—exploring the world around them. They become completely absorbed in finding out how they can interact with and impact that world.

I’ve observed in my Tot-Mama Yoga classes a sobbing toddler being held by a loving parent, and then set back on their feet again. They join the rest of the group mid-song, their arms spread wide in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star pose and smiling from ear to ear.

I’ve come to realize that we all need that safety and acceptance and love, before we truly feel ready to go out and do our lives—full on.

All of us Mamas (whether we have toddlers or not) need lovin’ up!

This is where self-nurturing comes in. Especially during these super challenging, rapidly changing times on the planet. With shifts happening simultaneously in our own bodies, we really need tools and practices to help ourselves feel safe and loved. Not having these skills can increase the unease we’re feeling, and paralyze us in moving forward in our lives.

During shaky times in my own life, I need those practices that nurture me and help me get on my way. I need them more than ever when the ground under me seems to rumble, because there’s so much change happening on the earth and in the lives of everyone I love.

Let me share a quicky practice with you that can be done in just a few minutes. Even standing at the kitchen sink or in the shower.

Heart Hug with Chest Expander

  •  Cross your arms over your chest, wrap your arms around your shoulders and give yourself a ginormous hug. Feel the love from that part of you that isn’t afraid of struggles, upsets, fears.
  • Drop your chin toward your chest and breathe into the space between the shoulder blades, letting out a sigh on an exhale. Feel the back of your heart expand for several breaths as you take in self love.
  • Uncross your arms and reach behind your back. Clasp your hands and draw the knuckles away from you. Bring breath into the front of the heart center and let your chest float up. Feel love from the entire universe pouring into you as you breathe fully.
  • Switch arms and repeat.

Then, like a happy toddler, you can run off. Watch out world, here I come!

Yoga practice when done mindfully and with self-compassion helps us learn to self-nurture and to find courage to do our work in the world for the benefit of family, community & the planet. Need a practice? Join us for Gentle Yoga and let your heart expand. Register now.

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