Raising Little Yogis – The Life & Times of a Yogi Mum I first discovered the yummy-ness of yoga asanas early in the 1970’s when I was pregnant with my first child. I loved the feeling of moving my body in all directions and the challenges of strength, fitness and flexibility but I wasn’t as attracted to the relaxation and finer aspects of quietening the mind. That came later. First I had to learn not to be ambitious and push myself beyond the limitations that I was born with or had accumulated through a reasonably inactive childhood. I have since grown to love slowing down my practice and focusing on my breath and the flow of subtle energy through my body.
As my family grew to six children we had an increasingly busy life and it was tricky to squeeze in regular asana practice, especially those quieter aspects I was really enjoying. Lying down for shavasana and practicing quiet meditation with six squirmy kids was never going to be easy! I really wanted my kids to enjoy the benefits of yoga and while they all learned to practice asanas, only my youngest daughter really embraced them from an early age. Fortunately, the path of yoga has gifts that are far more attractive to young and old alike.
At the heart of yoga is the amazing practice of kirtan (singing) meditation. Kirtan incorporates sacred mantra, music, melody, rhythm, dance, creativity and community. The sacred mantras that are sung in kirtan awaken our inherent wisdom and spiritual qualities of compassion, kindness, courage and love. They develop our sense of connection between individuals, community, our environment and the Supreme Soul. The wonderful thing about kirtan is that anyone can enjoy it, no matter their age or physical ability. Even though kirtan is meditation, we don’t need to sit calmly, close our eyes and block out the world. An impossibility for mothers and children alike.
But with kirtan, even babies in their mother’s womb can be hearing these sacred sounds and gaining comfort from them. My children grew up with kirtan at the heart of our home. With the gentle singing of mantras I soothed my babies off to sleep and then had a recording playing softly throughout the night. Whenever my husband had a turn minding the babies he’d bring out his guitar, put them in the bounce-a-net, keep rhythm with the bouncing foot and sing mantras to them in his delightful raspy baritone to his favourite Beatles or Dylan tunes. With toddlers and pre-schoolers we had fun dancing and singing the mantras to simple catchy tunes and as they grew older, all of them learned to play musical instruments and sing. Every morning the whole family got together and shared a kirtan. As adults, my little yogis have grown to be kind, caring individuals. They continue to develop their unique talents and share them with the world, finding ways to be of service to others. And kirtan is still at the heart of our home. At every family get together all the generations of yogis bring out the musical instruments and sing from our hearts.
Happy Mothers Day everyone!
By Vrndavan Dasi
Director of Veda Yoga Training