Mindful Parenting–I'm Curious, How About You?

Hi wonderful humans. I hope you're having a tremendous week. As a new mama I'm incredibly curious about mindful parenting, are you? I have no doubt that practicing mindfulness and mindful parenting have many differences but are equally influential when implemented in our home lives. It may be wishful thinking, but I pray for the day that all our education systems also include mindful practices into the curriculum. Wouldn't that be great for our children and our educators? 

Inspirational Addict Writer Andrea Bogart Sonoma Mama Actress Health and Wellness Yoga Instructor 

From the time an infant is one month old they start to make facial expressions and possibly even mimic some of their parents gestures. These first years of a child’s life are crucial for setting up a strong foundation for learning, relationships and mental health. As we stick out our tongues, play patty-cake and comfort with hugs and kisses, we quickly learn how babies and children are prone to copying behaviors they see. As the various developmental stages take shape, involving them them with things like yoga and meditation can help them deeply bond, sleep better, grow stronger, relieve fussiness, learn self-regulation, increase body awareness and promote neuromuscular development… just to touch on a few. Parents creating this space for themselves propels curiosity. Our little ones’ abilities to absorb impressions are rapid and undeniable so I implore us to experiment as early as we can. Although much of our information is young and anecdotal, I'm intrigued that research is revealing trends and further investigation is being prompted on how effective meditation and mindful practices are for our youth.  

Inspirational Addict Writer Andrea Bogart Sonoma Mama Actress Health and Wellness Yoga Instructor

In many cases when a woman becomes pregnant, a mindful yoga practice is being recommended by doctors encouraging them to maintain a calm, healthy pregnancy. Various stressors, if become constant, may negatively affect a growing fetus so it’s no surprise parents are interested in learning how to reduce unhealthy stress and use coping mechanisms, like meditation and yoga, to assist in stress management. Throughout my pregnancy I remained consistent with my meditation practice often using the Chopra Center meditations as a guide. I truly believe that even now with our baby girl only being ten months old she recognizes the voices and has an understanding that it’s a relaxing time not just for mommy and daddy but for her as well. I have found in my own struggles with being up several times a night to breastfeed that using an uplifting mantra helps me create inner peace, stay relaxed and I easily fall back asleep after she’s done feeding. I can’t help but hope this affects her positively as well. She too has been observing and involved with my yoga practice since the day she’s arrived. I’ve watched her press into downward dog long before she could even crawl. She loves to be involved, crawling all around my mat and watches as I breathe and move through postures. My positive experience leads me to believe that it’s beneficial to weave these practices in as early as you get to hear a heartbeat.

Children are showing signs of anxiety, restlessness and stress earlier and being diagnosed with things like ADHD before the age of six. Parents in-turn have a perpetual concern about children’s attention. We have an opportunity to shift concern into action by showing and teaching mindfulness early on. The amount of interest being displayed with your child in the action you are promoting will be your best guide. While there isn’t a distinct age said to begin teaching meditation it’s been recommended by experts to start off short and simple. Perhaps trying one min of meditation per year of age. After working with children in a theater camp, ages four and up, I was shocked and thrilled to see how many knew what yoga and meditation was and were able to lay quietly as we practiced meditation in savasana at the end of our yoga session all together. With that said it’s important to pay attention to your child’s nature and temperament so it may take some trial and error to find the structure that feels good.

There are a variety of creative ways to invite your children into a calming mindful space that can lead to an ongoing meditation practice. Mindfulness is not simply sitting perfectly still; music and movement often make ideal mindfulness entry points as well. Whether it be creating a special space in your home, using things like a candle flame to focus on, encouraging imagination with colors and visualizing or saying mantras with simple breathing exercises, allow your child to partake in the idea fun and help lead the way to mindfulness. We can watch them evolve into healthy adults by offering them simple tools now and most importantly, leading by example. Here are some wonderful resources I’ve explored with my youth yoga students and baby girl and simply love.

Inspirational Addict Writer Andrea Bogart Sonoma Mama Actress Health and Wellness Yoga Instructor Baby Girl with Meddy Teddy Meditation Yoga Bear

Meddy Teddy is a 100% posable bear who practices yoga and meditation. Meddy can be a tool and a buddy as you bring awareness into how to sit or lay comfortably to meditate. His eyes are closed to remind us how to turn inward to ourselves as we find our breath to feel grounded and calm.

My Light Shines Bright is The Chopra Centers first guided meditation app for kids age 8-12. The 22 guided meditations are geared toward building confidence, encouraging good sleep, creativity, and deep connection.

Itsy Bitsy Yoga is a wonderful book by Helen Garabedian that introduces parents and babies to the many ways of bonding together and improving health. A delightful guide to introducing mindful techniques as early as birth.

Breathing Buddies Best-selling author Daniel Goleman shares such a sweet and simple way he observed children learning to use their breath and strengthen their focus in a classroom setting. After finding a comfortable place to stretch out they are to put their stuffed animal on their belly and count as they breathe in 1,2,3 and out 1,2,3, watching their toy move up and down.

I also weighed in on this topic with one of my favorite wellness platforms MindBodyGreen so please feel free to read more on kids and meditation there.  

Thank you guys for stopping by! Would love to hear from you especially if you have kids and have insight on what’s working and not working for you! Wishing us all the very best as we navigate our way into mindful parenting. 

XOXO ANDREA

 

Allowing Yourself To Receive

What are we asking for and what are we receiving? I encourage us to explore this immediately so we can proceed in allowing the Universe to support us. Everything in our lives is in flow.

Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

As I lay on my back with acupuncture needles in various parts of my body... I'm drifting into a meditation with a mantra, "heal my mind, heal my body." The gentle voice of my acupuncturist says a few beautiful words, receive being among them. I'm reminded to ask for what I need and allow space to actually receive. It stirred up some thoughts for me. In my recent challenges with breast-feeding and production, perhaps I was so focused on needing to provide a solid milk supply for our baby-girl... I was forgetting the allowance of receiving what I needed in order to do so. It makes sense now. With a pretty simple shift in perspective my human ah-ha alarm is saying, "Andrea you know how to practice this." 

I'm a believer in prayer, yoga, mediations, gratitude journals... all of which give me an opportunity to check-in, create joy and quiet the mind. However, receiving can become quite passive unintentionally as it's an action that happens all day long with e-mails, messages, phone-calls and various interactions. So how do we absorb the essence of receiving in a beneficial way?  We have to pay attention and be present to do this. Often at the end of my yoga sessions as I guide students into savasana I say, "allow yourself to surrender and receive the benefits of your practice."  The hope is that we are so connected to the present moment that letting go washes over us in a wave of compassion worth soaking up. 

Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

Questions to ask yourself

  • What kind of energy am I putting out into the world through what I think, say and do?
  • When and where in my daily routine am I consciously making space to receive?
  • Do I feel worthy of receiving the things I ask my guided lights for? 
  • Do I believe in the abundance of receiving without limits?

Are you getting into this with me now? The honest answers to those questions will guide you to clarity. If you feel some negativity flooding your immediate responses... seek gratitude, seek more gratitude and seek gratitude again, I promise it shifts things. Do that for yourself, because you CAN. 

To this day, my Mom still says "the day you stop believing is the day you stop receiving." Although she is referencing our holiday spirit, the one and only Santa Clause... why not have this as a resourceful mantra for life too? We have to believe in the things we ask for. We have to believe in what we are deserving of and kick fear to the curb as it's often the culprit of pushing us off track. 

I distinctly remember a time in my life where FEAR was winning at every turn. I was convincing myself of so many things that were not my truths because I was shaking in my boots that my guided lights would never grant me the things I most desired. I stopped asking and was putting a lot of bulls##t out there and guess what came back? A lot more bulls##t.  I wasn't allowing any space for receiving because I was too busy letting my hopes get highjacked. I'm super happy to say with some hard work and mindful commitments to self-love, I was able to wade back out of that mess, but I do remember that pitiful time well. 

There is nothing to find, only to realize. There is nothing to become, only to be. There is nothing to fear, only to love.
— Marianne Williamson
Wellness Influencer, yoga instructor Andrea Bogart Travels through india with Photographer Erik Almas.

It's the holiday season and I am by your side in making the worthy effort to receive more abundantly. Find the ways in which you connect to this effort best and make time for it. Remember everything in life is in flow... keep receiving as a part of your necessary flow. Thank you for popping by, I'm such a lover of communication so always feel welcome to share a story of your own or comment here. 

XO ANDREA