Yoga and Social Emotional Feelings

My eldest just went to college - finally - after the Covid crisis of last year. I’m lucky. I got a bonus year with her, right? Except, it didn’t feel like a bonus navigating all the losses of 2020. I’m so happy she’s finally on her way - and she is too! I’m not an empty nester. My 16 year old is at home, so how do I explain this weird sensation in my body and in my household?

As I sat with a group of new moms for the IYK® Baby + Toddler class, I was struck by something unexpected. I remember that feeling of being SO ready for my baby to get out of my body. She can’t stay there forever; at full-term, it’s time for her to be out! Yet, after birth, there was this odd vacancy in my body and I was left with the squishy leftovers of her having been there. With my last birth, I remember thinking I’ll never feel that again, and I was sad because I loved being pregnant.

Leaping years forward, no one explained that strange sensation would happen again when she left the house. She packed her room. We got her into the on-campus apartment. It all went smoothly. She was all set. Then, I came home. The house felt different. It didn’t matter how many sleepovers, trips taken or camps she attended, she always landed back here. But this time, it felt different. I walked through her room and gathered the remnants she’d left behind. It was that same squishy leftover feeling of her no longer living in my vessel.

That hit me hard. I was fortunate to be spared of postpartum depression with both of my pregnancies. I work with so many moms who experience it intensely and it’s hard to overcome those challenges. I’ve always empathized, but now I identify with them in this new way. It’s postpartum part 2 for me, and it’s real!

Fortunately, there’s always a silver lining and a metaphor with yoga:

  • Feel the feels - the vacancy. In yoga, it’s the exhale to the bottom of your breath.
  • Let go. In yoga, release any tension you are holding in your body and mind.
  • Love yourself fully. In yoga, be with yourself in every state with care.

Within a week, I was delighted to hear Kate had enrolled in some yoga classes. She was taking off navigating new experiences - another metamorphosis complete.

Yoga for Kids and Unconditional Love

This month, we celebrate Grandparents Day on September 12. Grandparents matter for many reasons. To name a few: unconditional love, perspective and presence. Interestingly, these are qualities we learn in yoga, too.

Unconditional Love. Often, grandparents get to be the parents they weren’t. It’s a do-over without the pressures of parenting. Grandparents lead with LOVE. They are more relaxed, patient and forgiving. And they love to spoil their grandchildren! The love from a grandparent feels different - like you can do no wrong. Similarly in yoga, we learn to love ourselves from the inside out regardless of what we can do on the mat. Love for self is essential for health and happiness.

Perspective. We think we are the only ones experiencing the challenges of our time. The hardships that our grandparents endured are often overlooked as history not relevant to today - except they are. Everything is relative and the fears over the years compare to the political, economic and social fears of the moment. It is said, history repeats itself until we learn from it. Grandparents offer a different point of view and grandchildren love to listen to their stories!

Presence. I would be with my Granny for hours! We baked. We sewed. We gardened. We tied bows. We cleaned the house. We played cards and dice games. We read. We cuddled. We listened to music. We danced. We loved every moment together! She’s always fully present with me. In yoga, we learn to be present with ourselves through our breath.

"This too shall pass” is the #1 thing I learned from my Granny.

Everything is impermanent. Everything changes. Nothing lasts for ever - not power, not beauty, not money and not the thoughts and emotions that flood our systems from moment to moment. In yoga, we take one breath at a time.

I love my Granny. She turns 100 on September 23. She’s still sharp in her mind and healthy in her body. We’re blessed my aunt is her daily caregiver so she can live at home. She’s slowed way down. But never too slow to remind me what matters most in life - enduring love.

One of our favorite things at It’s Yoga Kids is when grandparents come to breathe, move and relax with their children and grandchildren in Family Yoga. Ahhh, it’s so sweet!

We’ve had lots of fun at the IYK® Back-to-School ?Yoga Challenge! Here are highlights from Day 4 and what we covered for all 5 days.

Day 1: Establish your High ? Habits for successful skill sets

Day 2: Set your Superpower ⭐️ Schedule so your days are smooth

Day 3: Create your Playful ??‍♀️ Movement Plan to shift energy (up or down)

Day 4: Map your Peaceful ☮️ Mindset to feel happy and free

Day 5: Make some ✨Magic ✨ just for FUN!

If you want to see more replay highlights, please follow us, DM and comment on our Instagram!

Yoga for Kids Calming Nerves

Back-to-School is an exciting and often nerve-wracking time for families. Anticipation mixed with nerves flows between kids and parents - often equally. It can be a cycle of comforting combined with crying - including tears of joy - for all parties involved.

After the fun part of back-to-school shopping, each year the step up is filled with unknowns. New friends, new teachers, new rules, new challenges - not to mention new work with lots of paperwork for parents. Covid has taken the norm of health and stepped it up to a whole new level. Regardless of the mixed experiences of education during the pandemic, this year is unprecedented. Additionally, for many kids who missed a whole year of socializing, the intensity of re-integrating is another layer previously known. How do we support our kids through these important milestones and unknowns, and is it possible to do with confidence, resilience and joy?

I think so. Yoga has shown me the way. I did not have yoga growing up. I wish I had. For the 1200 or so instructors I’ve certified, the number one reason they say they want to teach yoga to kids is because they wish they had yoga when they were kids - and it’s not for the pose on the mat, it’s what they learned in yoga that applied to everyday life. This is the first generation of teachers I’ve trained where some of them had yoga as teenagers, and they acknowledge the world of difference it made. 

Yoga can help in few ways:

  1. Calming nerves. Breathing is the fastest way to calm the nervous system. Hugs also work. Hugs at home are going to matter now that hugs at school are not allowed. When you combine breathing with hugging it co-regulates both nervous systems. That’s a win-win!
  2. Moving energy. Feelings have energy. When worried feelings arrive. Feel them vs. pushing them away. Listen to one another fully and then decide what you want to do with it. For all ages, yoga poses help us burn through worries to a safer place within ourselves.
  3. Mindset matters. The math of moods are like = like. If you are in a bad mood, usually bad things happen. If you are in a good mood, usually good things happen. Our minds can play tricks on us. Recycling thoughts from negative to positive can change our experience.

Yoga requires us to practice these life skills. No matter your level of excitement or worry as we come into this uncharted new school year, I hope you will discover ways to being yoga to life everyday. It’s the easy and fun way for family wellness. If you’re curious, join me for the FREE IYK® 5-Day Back-to-School Yoga Challenge starting August 11, 2021 to practice your High 5 Habits for school this year.

Kids Yoga and Mental Health

I’ve always loved research. It’s been a way for me to link the health benefits of yoga to unknowing or doubting parents. One thing is certain over the last 16 years since I started It’s Yoga Kids, parents want the best for their kids. That will never change.

Historically, teenagers have been the most affected age for mental healthy concerns including, but not limited to, anxiety, depression and suicide. As a result of the pandemic, these concerns have scaled down to younger children and up to adult children. Here are couple of recent articles that piqued my interest regarding mental health for all ages.

8-Year-Olds in Despair: The Mental Health Crisis Is Getting Younger.

“The number of children who need urgent mental health care has been on the rise for years, and spiked during the pandemic. In November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study that compared how often children came to emergency rooms in the United States for mental health reasons versus other types of concerns. The agency found that between April and October of 2020, there was a 24 percent increase in the proportion of mental health emergency department visits for kids ages 5 to 11 compared with the same period in 2019.”

How to Support Adult Children with Mental Health: Expert advice on how to gently offer help and compassion.

“The American Psychological Association’s 2020 Stress in America survey found that 34 percent of those 18 to 23 said their mental health has worsened compared with before the pandemic, a number higher than any other generation. Risa Garon, a licensed clinical social worker in Silver Spring, Md., and executive director of the National Family Resiliency Center, has seen in her practice that the pandemic has caused many young adults to lose “the rhythm of living,” she said.”

I was was struck by the term, “the rhythm of living.” In yoga, I learned a term from Larry Schultz, Founder of It’s Yoga. He would always say, “go with the flow.” While he taught that on the mat, it transferred to my life off the mat. Learning to go with the flow has been a mantra for my life. It’s helped me as a parent through pregnancy and raising my children. It’s helped through massive loss and recovery. It’s helped my family find confidence, resilience and joy. It's my "rhythm of living."

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