How Yoga Made Us Better Parents

We are the proud parents of six beautiful children. We all love each other very much, but with so many different personalities interacting, sometimes there is discord. We began our yoga journey eight years ago and have since immersed ourselves in yoga in every sense of the word, both of us becoming teachers. Before yoga, we were exercise fanatics. The physical benefits of exercise can’t be denied, and we rode those endorphins for many years. While we felt physically strong and in shape, things at home were still difficult. We were still using very traditional parenting methods (time-outs, grounding, taking away privileges, etc.) and thought we were doing a good job of preparing our children for the world.

In reality, we were not creating serenity in our home. Both of us carried a tremendous amount of stress. We felt like the world owed us something and we generally thought of our own needs before thinking about the needs of others, including our children. Although we didn’t realize it, we passed this stress along to our children. Then we found yoga. The light switch didn’t go on immediately. We simply exercised through what we thought was yoga, namely asana practice. It felt marvelous every time we left a class. The draw of yoga was so powerful, and we were so new and naïve that we had no clue why we felt like we did. As our interest and knowledge grew, we soon learned that yoga had a much broader definition. Yoga is much more than poses. It is a lifestyle, encompassing everything from diet to meditation and even breathing.

The more we learned the more our lives changed, and our attitudes toward everything changed—our parenting style most of all. When there was fighting between the kids, we would attack the issue from a totally different place, a place of deep love and kindness. Instead of time-outs and punishments, we would sit them down and do breathing exercises and meditation techniques. As if by magic, the children were changing before our eyes. They became more and more curious about meditation, asana, and breath exercises because they saw how different we had become.

Our home became a quiet place, full of love and caring. Gone were bickering, fighting, selfishness and angst. By infusing our yoga practice into our parenting, we had found a way to help our children deal with life on a more authentic and original level. Instead of punishing our kids, we help them meditate on what they did wrong. Now they like to meditate just because it brings peace and calm. Instead of yelling at them about this or that, we sit quietly with them and do breathing exercises. Now we don’t have to explain the benefits of the breathing exercises, because they do them on their own. Instead of getting angry, we practice asana with them. Yoga works. It makes you a better person and certainly a better parent. We believe it’s our job as parents to give our children the tools to handle life. We freely give to them what was given to us. Raising little yogis is not easy, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than raising little non-yogis!

  • By Yulady and Gerald Saluti
  • Orginally published at: https://www.mantramag.com/single-post/2018/01/16/How-Yoga-Made-Us-Better-Parents