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Holidays and Celebrations — Page 2

Holidays and Celebrations

After the Pie, the Breath

December 2, 2013

Golden Sleepy In-the-Keyhole Pie2 Light In-Thought

We gathered this past week with our family and friends, full of conversation, joy, and lots and lots of pie. This is the time where the holidays kick into high gear. The lights go up, the songs are played, and the excitement of what is ahead is always in the forefront of our minds.

It is also a time for rhythm, for balance, and especially for a deep breath. As wonderful as the holidays are, they can also be a very difficult time to balance emotions, sleep and anxiety for children. When we think about how tired we are at the end of the year, one can only imagine how mentally and physically exhausted our children must be. I remember a few years back, after working so hard to create the “perfect” holiday for my boys, Jacob spent Christmas Day with tissues stuffed up his nose, as one nose bleed after another kept coming. I called the doc, and she very simply told me that he was overly excited, and his body was responding. That was the moment where I realized that while the holidays are amazing, teaching our kiddos a few basic tricks to balance their emotions is essential.

Most of you know that I am a yoga and breath work advocate. I think that most of our daily lives could be greatly improved with a few moments of quiet reflection and sacred movement, and children are certainly no exception. For many of us, teaching kiddos yoga is easy and fun, but breath work is a bit more challenging. One of the biggest questions that I get from parents in regards to children is how to teach them to breathe. I think that most of us feel that breathing is a natural response, and that kids already know how to do it. While that is true to some extent, children are notorious for taking quick, shallow breaths when excitement sets in. That only serves to heighten their emotions, not calm them.

I know no young one who will sit for long periods of time and listen or practice breath work, but in my experience, teaching kiddos for a few minutes a day two simple techniques can make a world of difference (and not just at the holidays). The first is to teach them to take an equal inhale and exhale. I encourage my children to count to ten as they inhale through their nose, and to count to ten on the exhale (again, through the nose). This seems to be a good number to start with, and if they are ever in a place where the stress in really hard (think blood draw), I encourage them to extend that time by a few seconds. If they practice just once or twice in the morning, they have that tool at the ready, and when you see the excitement or stress level rising, simply remind them to count to ten and breathe.

The second is to take a full inhale through the nose, and exhale fully and loudly through the mouth with a sigh. I have no idea why this is so relaxing, but trust me, it works. I use it all the time on myself, especially when there is lots of sibling arguments of noise in the house. It is like a quick reset button, and I have yet to see it fail. I have my boys take a deep inhale, and then let out a long ahhhhhhhh. They love the way it rolls off the tongue, and there is always a smile and giggle at the end. This is such a beautiful time of year, and it should be filled with joy and fun. Allowing rhythm and quiet to seep into our days is just as important as the excitement and activities that fill our calendar. A warm bath each night before bed, a cup of mint tea, a story are all great ways to calm children and encourage good sleep and rest.

Wishing all of you a beautiful and magic filled start to the holiday season.

For more info on restorative yoga for children, please visit this post 

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The Moments that Matter

September 4, 2012

I suppose that it is safe to say that life has been busy. A good busy, but busy none the less. This space has been quiet, but our days have been anything but.

These past few months have seen some real changes for our family, and part of that change has demanded that we step back and self-reflect on the way that we are choosing to live our lives, the work that we are doing, and the commitments that we have taken on.

So often life seems too short, and our time here too quick. The days go by so fast, my children grow, and I wonder where the time has gone. Many days I live slowly and with purpose, many I do not. Many I waste, many I savor, but I do manage to find joy in them all.

Tomorrow sees three years of Rhythm of the Home come to light, and it feels like a big milestone. These past three years have been some of the most fulfilling, and some of the most challenging. I am left with such gratitude for the community of people who have supported the publication, and the work that many have given to it’s pages.

I have to admit that it also highlights some of the choices that have been in front of me, as I strive to balance being a mom and being a writer with every turn. These past few months I have stepped away from this space, and many others, in order to be sure that I was indeed living the authentic life that I try and convey. It is an odd thing to write about parenting, rhythm, balance, health and well being, and to try and stay in balance with all of those things at the same time. I had begun to ask myself if my life had become a series of blog posts that I was writing, or if my writing was indeed a reflection of the the life that we were living.

I have used this summer to connect deeply with my family, to close us off just a little bit and spend the time that we need just being together. The days have been wonderful, and I think that we all came away feeling a little lighter. Truth be told, I was so very glad to realize that our days looked just about the same as when I use to write consistently about them. For some reason, even if it sounds silly, that was important to me. I think that I can return to this space with the knowledge that the life that we have shown is a reflection of the life that we lead, rather than one that we want to portray.

I believe so thoroughly in the topics that I discuss here, and at Rhythm of the Home. I believe in families reconnecting through nature and art, I believe in looking deeply at the food that we eat. I love to share crafts, and recipes, and the special moments in our lives, and perhaps most important, I love the community that has been created, no matter how big or small, in the blogs and magazines of so many of you.

As summer fades, and Autumn begins to make it’s arrival, I look forward to all that is to come. I look forward to sharing here, to watching ROTH continue to grow, and to slowly reconnecting to this space that has always meant so much.

 

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