To continue on yoga and parenting, this week we consider the fourth limb of yoga which is pranayama or breath control.
To recap, breath is the link between the outer world of activity and inner world of silence. Prana is the subtle life force inside us, subtler than the breath, and is what makes us tick. Through proper breath control, and applying the numerous breathing techniques we are able to keep the prana level high and this leads to better control of emotions, among the many benefits.
Parents will attest that a dreaded scene is when a child throws tantrum at any point in time, or sulks when they don’t get their way. The likely uncontrolled response by the parent does not help the situation either. Consistent regular practice of Pranayama is a very effective empowering tool for both the child and the parent. The more the practice, the greater the realization that emotions don’t have to rule our lives, and this leads to freedom and better self- awareness. Without this awareness and experience, there may be a tendency to erroneously define oneself or a child by their emotive disposition from time to time.
When the breath is deep and long (as opposed to short and shallow), it calms the mind. Doing yoga asanas with this deep long breath bring benefits like the ability to exercise patience, tolerance and to engage one another productively in times of disagreement. Raising a child with these human values is a big step to creating a better world by developing transformational leaders of tomorrow. On the health front, some respiratory disorders which children tend to be prone to can be alleviated by the regular practice of pranayama.
The last four limbs of yoga – pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (practicing one pointed attention), dhyana (a state of being keenly aware without focus), and samadhi (bliss) all lead to a culmination of a deep meditative state. A calm meditative state of mind whether for the parent or child is one of the major sources of energy which leads to a calm but alert state of mind.
More next week
YOGA AND GOOD HEALTH
Continuing on “Why Meditate: 25 Signs For You to Start Meditating for the Next 40 Days” by Sejal Shah, Sri Sri Yoga Teacher, YACEP, Art of Living Teacher, NYU Post Graduate Medical School approved Yoga-CME retreat facilitator, Mind-Body Wellness Writer, Homeopath.
Fourth to eighth signs…
“4. It feels like you’re always short of time.
If you keep feeling that you have too much in your hands, your calendar is always full, your day begins very early and ends too late, and there is very little time to do what you really want to do, meditation can help you find balance. While finding time to meditate may seem like an extra burden, the boost that meditation gives to your mental well-being may help you get everything else done faster and better.
5. You scowl a lot.
“A child smiles naturally 400 times a day, an adolescent smiles 17 times, and an adult does not smile at all,” says meditation Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. This is because babies are stress-free. The purpose of yoga and meditation is to put a smile on our face, in spite of all the stress and tension we face in our day-to-day life.
6. You cry often.
If you find yourself tearing up at the slightest provocation, small failure, or setback, work pressure, or somebody’s minor opinions or criticism of you, meditation can help you become more emotionally resilient. You might be wondering why certain people are always smiling and laughing when you seem to be sad all the time–maybe they’re practicing meditation!
7. You either brood and analyze or plan and fantasize too much.
You find yourself caught up in past regrets or making future plans, either feeling bitter, angry, or anxious and worried. Overactive mind is a sign of stress. Meditation is known to bring the mind into the present moment and give you the ability to enjoy the moment as is.
8. You struggle even to make simple decisions.
When you find yourself asking either your spouse or friend to take small everyday decisions like what to wear, which restaurant to go to, which coffee to order, or what food to make, meditation can help you become more confident in what you want.” I trust we all relate to these signs, either on us or on those around us. Meditation maybe the answer.
YOGA AND GOOD HEALTH
While we’re still on the mental benefits of meditation, I wish to take a moment to appreciate the increasing awareness about wholistic yoga (yoga stretches, breathing exercises and meditation) in Botswana, judging from the inquiries we receive at Art of Living, especially the referrals from medical doctors and practitioners of mental wellness.
The reality is that meditation is a practical tool that addresses problems from the depth, not superficially. As you’ve seen from the previous articles, its benefits cut across many medical conditions but also just promotes a very good state of wellbeing. Let’s consider the next mental benefit of how meditation is the best tool to remove bad habits like smoking, or over indulgence in alcohol, for those who have an earnest desire to stop.
Meditation is good at helping get rid of bad habits because it creates or raises self-awareness. It reaches unimaginable depth of one’s core of existence, that only brings out the truth about us and our situation. It takes one past the delusions that one tends to hide behind to remain in a comfort zone.
When the truth gets revealed to you, there’s no argument or debate, no bias, no judgement, no justification, no need to defend yourself, it’s just the truth! This is unlike when someone tells you of your weakness or shortcoming. This is what makes meditation effective, and it becomes a lot easier to deal with as well as eliminate the habit from its root cause.
Consequently, you’re able to see the reality about life without that bad habit. Imagine how many lives, families, marriages, careers are destroyed due to bad habits by children, spouses, parents, workers, friends and so on. All is not lost, as meditation provides you with the chance to claim back your purposeful life.
Related to the benefit of breaking habits is that of breaking addictions. Meditation gives a natural “high” much better than the destructive “high” from drugs or alcohol which just leads to a regrettable crash. Meditation does not only deal with the addiction, but will also deal with the root cause of the addiction, presenting a longer lasting solution.
On 25th May 2019 at 3.30pm there’ll be a live Peace Meditation with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the Founder of Art of Living Foundation as part of his yearly peace initiative of “I Meditate Africa” – www.bit.ly/VoiceOfAfrica.