As a yoga instructor, I feel the desire to share yoga with everyone. I feel there is such good to be learned, benefits that can follow us off our mats and into our daily lives. I really love sharing the wisdom of yoga with children. It doesn't end up looking (or sounding) much like the classes I share with adults, but the same important aspects are conveyed. Breath and body awareness, treating ourselves and the world with kindness, healthy living choices – these are benefits that children, and you and I, can learn and put to good work in many areas of our life.
The more time I spend with children, the more aware I am of my own two boys evolving into independent young men. I feel impressed upon something that I feel we, as parents/teachers/mentors, must do for our children. A gift, but also a responsibility.
Self-Love. It is more important now, more than any other time in history, to teach our children to love themselves. It is Self-Love that will most influence the type of person our children become. It will be Self-Love that will give our children the confidence that this modern era will demand. Self-Love will empower compassion, fuel passions amidst discouragement, and encourage them to strive for balance and health in body, mind and spirit.
The tricky part, however, is that Self-Love is something that we often do not effectively teach our children. It is only effectively communicated in one way. Learning it ourselves, and putting it into practice.
The truth is, our kids are looking to us all the time. If we want to see our children become the best they can be, to not only accept themselves but to love themselves wholeheartedly, then it is our responsibility to do for ourselves first. In this case, the “Do as I say, not as I do” will not pass.
If you do not love yourself right now, that does not mean you wont, or can't. There are so many ways to start down the path to self acceptance. And the children are watching. As we learn about caring for our physical bodies and develop the discipline to keep it healthy, our children will watch our lifestyle choices and hear our words – and they will see for themselves the how and why. As we learn to love our bodies and minds in spite of, or maybe because of, the ways it is different from others – they will learn that their uniqueness is beautiful and be content. As you learn to turn the tide of thoughts and feelings of negativity, stress and worry to thoughts of self awareness, peace and personal development, so will they.
I will continue to improve my love for myself as I am right now – and trust that as I learn to observe and accept myself, make better choices as I learn from mistakes, and love with myself more, my Self-Love will in turn teach my own children, and those I am blessed to teach, to love themselves more too.