Balancing Yoga

A year and a half ago my mental health crashed. I needed a medical evacuation out of Samui and a hospital stay in Bangkok of half a month, followed by a gradual unraveling of symptoms and a continual healing process.

My yoga practices slowed down over this period of time for which there was guilt involved, but I feel that now I have found a healthy balance of activities.

For the moment.

What brought me to yoga initially was the thought that I might get closer to Indian culture, the realization that it could heal my body from injury, and the more I got into it, that it was a powerful tool to help me know myself.

I immersed myself in yoga practices for the last 13 years, and just as I can easily do with anything else I was obsessed, closed, and started believing in it as if there was not much else outside of yoga. I was defensive. I dropped my other activities one by one over the years.

I learnt yoga from senior teachers from all over the world and what I have come to realize is it doesn’t matter anymore, where they or I come from, yoga is yoga is yoga. It is a practice as any other.

Since my mental health broke down, I am taking medication, learning about myself by seeking professional help from psychiatrists and psychotherapists, leaning on and opening up to family and friends. The support and love I have received is the most important element in my healing process, along with my commitment to my husband and children to be the best I can be. I feel determined to live a clear life with them.

I am balancing activities, reintegrating some that I dropped years ago due to injury, such as running and finding some new ones such as Muay Thai – it amazes me what insights I learn about myself by being a beginner seeing things in a new way.

A569581E-7B91-43EA-94E0-8B6B4B6F0C9D

In reintegrating more active practices into my life, the yoga asana thread that I carry with me keeps me balanced and in check, both physically, and mentally. It has a powerful place in my life, but no longer does it have a power over me.

I am feeling more alive and connected than ever before. We all have to find our own dosages of activities just like we might do with medication. It takes time to see what works, what is supportive. I continue to play with and fine tune the balance of too much of something whatever it might be, to too little, and I can only hope I will continue to do so.

Thanks for taking the time to read!20BA8C6B-2576-43F1-A3F1-1EE8B60B4278

Teaching Your Kids Yoga Early: A Guest Post by Dana Vicktor

Dana Vicktor is the senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in communications and sociology. Her current focus for the site involves ovulation pain and the menstruation cycle.

Teaching Your Kids Yoga Early

Yoga has many benefits for everyone. It can help to relieve stress, improve circulation, and tone muscles. It can promote greater heart health, improve digestion, and provide greater energy.

Yoga has many excellent benefits for children, as well. Yoga can help:

  • Promote balance and flexibility
  • Build confidence and self-esteem
  • Improve concentration
  • Promote calmness
  • Build strength

You don’t have to wait until your children are grown to start teaching them how to practice yoga. Here are a few tips for how to teach your kids yoga early:

Get Started Right Away
You can start teaching your kids about yoga from the moment they are born. “Mommy and Me” classes lead you through yoga exercises with your baby — though baby’s main role is to lie there and look cute. Later, toddler classes start showing your kids how to do modified versions of some of the moves with you.

By practicing yoga with your kids early, you help them to develop a love of the practice so that they can make it a part of their own routines later.

Start Small
You don’t have to introduce your kids to yoga by showing them how to do shoulder stands or other complicated moves. You can start with the basics: chanting and breathing.

When you are waiting at the doctor’s office, or you are driving in the car, or you are getting ready for your day in the morning, take advantage of that time to practice together. Get your children to mimic you, and talk to them about the benefits of these practices.

Keep It Age-Appropriate
Young children have short attention spans. Don’t try to fight that, but rather, work with it. Limit the time for each exercise to no more than a minute. Take frequent breaks during your yoga practice with your children so that they don’t become too bored or restless. Speed up the pace of the routine, as well.

The key is not to overwhelm kids or to push the limits of their patience. Yoga should be enjoyable, not feel like a chore.

Make It Fun
Yoga shouldn’t feel like exercise or something that kids are forced to do. It should be fun! Help make it fun for them by including silly songs, fun challenges, or even props. Use a silly voice when you call out the moves, invite their favorite doll to “practice” with you, or use fun names for some of the poses (some of them are already pretty funny…).

Do whatever you can to make yoga a fun practice for your children, and they will learn to love it and will be more likely to practice it for years to come.

Be a Role Model
Children learn best by watching you. Show them how fun and rewarding a yoga practice can be by enjoying your own practice in front of them. Don’t treat your practice like exercise or like a chore, or your children will learn to view it in the same way.

Make yoga  a regular part of your life so that you may show your children how regular practice can benefit them.

Teaching kids how to practice yoga will have a number of benefits for them, such as promoting their self-esteem and confidence while also improving their strength and flexibility. Teaching kids this wonderful practice early will make it more likely that they will continue to practice it later in life, when it will also help them to relieve stress and protect against disease.

Do you practice yoga with your children? How old were they when you started?