Ayurveda with Kids
Living an Ayurvedic lifestyle is one that on paper might seem very difficult to do with young kiddos. When I first started on my Ayurvedic journey I was a brand new mama to my now 7.5 year old. What I appreciated about my teacher Cate Stillman is that she was a mother to a young daughter herself. She was able to breakdown practices in an easy to follow manner.
Since studying with Cate I've mostly had teachers who were not mamas and might not quite understand all of the moving parts to incorporating these practices into a busy lifestyle. I will say since having my second son there is even more moving parts to manage but it is possible.
I wanted to talk about this topic today since that's the stage I'm currently in, navigating young kids and still trying to live according to Ayurveda and yogic philosophies.
Where to start
If you have young kids your time is precious. You might not always know exactly how long your kid(s) will nap for so sometimes it rolling the dice of what to do; meditate, the dishes, a workout or maybe a little work. For myself what I've found helpful is to know which tasks I can do with my youngest son present and which ones I cannot. I can workout with him, it's pretty hard to meditate with him now that he's almost 6 months. I can do the dishes and clean up but it's really hard to record a podcast.
Tip 1 : Plan
Ayurveda loves a schedule and so do kids. Once you get your kiddos on a predictable schedule it's a good time to get one one yourself. For me the first nap of the day means I will do some work in my office and maybe start my workout. I will finish my workout most likely with him up but he's usually happy to play by himself for a bit right after a nap.
The second nap what do you need to do? I might need to do a bit more work, or I will do my meditation & pranayama practice. I like to do the same one everyday because it pacifies vata as well as keeps me on my routine so I don't have to think about what I want to do.
Finally if there is a third nap that's usually when I cook dinner and get my older son some alone time where we can hang out and play games.
Map out what your ideal plan will be for you and your family.
Tip 2: Nourish
Ayurveda is all about finding your balance. If you're in balance your kids are more likely to be, especially when they are really young they feed off your energy. Make sure you keep balanced by doing the practices that nourish you. If you have too much coffee make sure you make space for grounding food and meditation that day. If you have too much sweets finding time to move your body and excess energy around. If you're feeling stressed out and burnt out find time to rest. Maybe you take a nap with your little one, or do a yoga nidra, or just read a book.
Tip 3: Set realistic expectations
One of the ways I get burnt out is if I plan all of the things and my boys have an off day and I feel like a failure and usually am frazzled by the end of the day. Now I have one big task I want to complete a day and that's a huge win. Some days my task is making sure I meditate as I haven't in a few days. That will once more nourish me and help me find balance and will help everyone in our home find harmony.
Tip 4: Get outside in nature
Nature not only is good for you but it's wonderful for calming kiddos. My now 7 year old just went on a six mile walk with me and everyone on the bike trail was so impressed he walked that far. We've been on that trail and he's been training with me for 5 years. I didn't just start with six miles we built up to that. Not only does that help him sleep better but it helps him calm his excess energy as well. We also like to go to parks, he rides his scooter or bike around the neighborhood or jumps on our trampoline. Think of ways you can incorporate your kids into the practices you already enjoy doing outside.
The more you pay attention to how you're living you're living an Ayurvedic lifestyle. The more you can slow down and just be present in your life the more you're going to notice subtle energy shifts in yourself and your kids.
That doesn't mean that there will not be times when it feels like you're just going at a million miles an hour but make sure you find your balance. If you know you have a busy week how can you plan rest after.
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