well being

Healing

February 18, 2014

Blowing Running

Relaxation DSC_7794-copy Walking-together Snowball-fight Snowball Eating-Avocadoes Eating Grey On-the-bridgeOh my, I am becoming the random blog writer, aren’t I? These past two weeks have been spent recovering from back-to-back surgeries, and I have to admit that the healing process was much rougher than I thought that it would be. For once, I let myself rest. There really was no other choice, as my body seemed different this time than in the past.

Healing is one of the most important processes that we can go through, both emotional and physical, and yet we are so often encouraged to get back up, get back in the saddle, get moving on with life. Stepping away from things, and giving our bodies a true chance to heal is almost seen as an indulgence, or a sign of weakness. I find that to be so odd, as healing is a part of living a long and fulfilled life, developing strength, and ensuring vitality, and yet I have certainly always had a very rough relationship with the healing process. Taking time for myself, and oh my asking for help are things that I have needed to work on for a long time.

The past year has taught me a lot about healing. It has been 11 months since I went into pre-term labor with Emma Jeanne, and was put on bed rest. It has been 7 months since her cesarean, and now this final process of healing a body a little banged up has begun. In caring for someone else, I have been reminded about caring for myself. Taking it slow, guarding what I feel I want to do with my time, choosing to eat, rest, and live in a way that built my body up, rather than continue the patterns of ill health that I truly feel are out there in our day to day world. Life has been so different this past year than in any other in my mothering years, and although I am honestly looking forward to getting back to a more active life with my kids, I feel nothing but gratitude for learning and embracing healing ways.

I was reading an article today that suggested that children who get even a lack of one hour of sleep a night can, overtime, digress one to two developmental years behind their peers who are sleeping an adequate amount. That is is astounding. If we take just that one fact, that one statistic, we know how important the idea of rest and well being can be. The body simply can not heal without our help. There are many that say that life is just too busy, there are too many things that need to be done, accomplished, etc. for healing to be a priority. I believe that there are always ways to step back, scale down, and live simpler that allow us to take the time that we need to heal. Rest and healing do not have to mean a total retreat from the world (although some times that it is just plain necessary), but more a mind set that we will do what it takes to allow our body and our mind to recover from whatever life event we are facing. Learning to come home from work, or from school, or from wherever our life has taken us and sit quietly, take a bath, and rest is possible. Saying no to ourselves or our children being involved in every life activity is possible. Creating a home environment where rest is encouraged, where taking a walk and letting the fresh air guide us is possible. Healing takes an embracing attitude, and the knowledge that each of us knows how to heal ourselves, we just have to agree to do so.

I am hoping that in seeing the way that I have protected my body and embraced rest, that my children will remember the importance of healing as well. It feels weird to say that it takes practice to create a healing mindset, but it does. Healing is a practice, and learning to look at our lifestyle, our food, our time management as a source of healing is as much a skill as learning to knit or fix a computer. I assume that these are skills that we will continue to cultivate and strengthen, but this year has been a good starting place.

 

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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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