Ahimsa and Satya in Parenting.

‚D’want me to show you yoga for snake?‘, big little one asks as I gently sing to the little little one falling asleep while hiking the Gruffalo trail. ‚Of course.‘, I say (duuh).
I’ve been so privileged to climb through the leaves this autumn time. With two amazing people who lure me out of my adult mind. Who teach me the philosophies of Yoga day in day out. And who absolutely go bananas when we do yoga together!
Ahimsa (non-violence) and Satya (honesty) have become the cornerstones of my life.  They are part of the Yamas – the limb of yoga focussed on morals and ethics. While this brings a whole discussion around diet and consumerism, these two yamas are most important to me in relationships.
Ahimsa is shown through gentle touch, hugs, tickles, kisses, smiles, sling- wearing, hand-holding, stopping and looking at spider webs and snails. It is shown through letting the young ones make their choices where at all possible – even if it’s inconvenient. They chose their food within a nurturing diet. They chose whether they sleep in bed by themself or snug in the sling. It is balancing what needs done with ease of experience. We stay open and fluid where possible so life can suprise us with extraordinary ordinary moments day in and day out. When we have to be focussed, we make a time frame of focus and chose a theme to follow. Today, I got rained on while strapping little people into their seats. I calmly reminded: ‚Please remember to focus. Focus on sitting, focus on strapping in. I really don’t want to get any more wet.‘ Big little one replied: ‚Okay, we focus until you get in. When you get into the car we get excited!!!‘  (Adding a number of shrieks and sounds trying to contain her excitement while we had to be focussed).
Ahimsa is a big part of our communication. We tell each other what we like, we share our love for each other. We compliment and encourage. We say ‚I forgive you‘. We also erase violence from our communication. I never assume bad intent. When the little ones drive me out of my mind, I remember that that is definitely not their intent. That may patience is running low and there are multiple reasons that have nothing to do with me explaining why they are bahiving in the ways they are. I recognise that on a different day, their behavious might not have the same effect on me. And knowing that their actions are not out to harm me, I make it my perogative to never shame or accuse. I don’t ever say ‚bad girl‘ and I avoid saying ‚good girl‘. When I begin a sentence with you are… I make well sure that the following words are either positive or encouraging growth.
I consider myself very strict. I have super clear boundaries and rules. They are reasonable rules of course. Not for the sake of rules but to keep everyone safe and our needs met. When my rules are realistic and appropriate, there very rarely get broken.
If there is a fight, I listen. They listen. When they get overwhelmed, we connect. They are safe in non-violence and that is non-negotiable.

Satya comes alongside Ahimsa. When they ask me something, I answer in a way acceptable to their developmental stage. If I don’t know how to answer the question honestly, I tell them that I will need to think about it before answering at a later stage. They tell me when they don’t like my outfit. They tell me when they LOVE the smell of my scarf. Our love for each other is not dependent on things we like or dislike.
Honesty is important to me not just with little people. I tell my friends when they have done something hurtful, they tell me if something didn’t sit right. I compliment healers who’s work I admire. I also reply truthfully if someone asks me about a modality I consider harmful or somehwat limited. I stick to the truth in arguments by saying how I feel rather than making claims about the other person’s intent. I don’t blame. I state behaviours that I can or cannot tolerate. I set my boundarys and enforce them, always independent of a person’s value or worth! I allow my friends to speak honestly on my life. They honesty is not violent even when they say something I don’t want to hear. I have yet to find a person who shares their feelings to offend me. Though I do have a big problem with people selling their opinions as universal truth, mixed with a compot of blame, shame, and hostility. Truth isn’t harsh (at least most of the time). Suppressed judgement and false niceness, however, often backfire dramatically.

When we honour Ahimsa and Satya, parenting becomes gentle. I barely witness tantrums with the little ones. They are heard, they are held. When their behaviour is undesireable (in those very rare occasions), I remind gently what we do and do not practice. When they do something they know is not okay, I hold their mistake with compassion. When I get grumpy, I apologise and they forgive me, offering an extra hug as it’s especially needed then. There is no shaming in our relationship. We are equally powerful, equally teaching, equally dedicated to creating Ahimsa and Satya in our lives ( though we may not call it that in everyday situations).

I so whole-heartedly believe that hitting, shaming, power play, and punishments have no role in my life – and especially in raising the ones to walk this planet next. It doesn’t take a yogi to see that. 

This autumn, I have delved deeper into my yoga practice. And I have been lucky to practice yin with litlle bodies and wise souls. Who find the joy in practice where my mind wants to be grumpy. And who challenge me to let go of stiff philosophy and make a tradition accesible and functional for the generations to come. I have yoga’d in between leafs and next to rivers. We have practiced partner yoga, yin, breathwork, and philosophy. Ans it has re-vitalised my soul and supported me through the letting go of this fall season. I can’t bring the forest into my yin class (Or can I??) but I can bring the fun of wild winds and floating leafs into class no doubt!
Therefore, this Sunday, we will yin yoga with ropes and walls. The same stillness. The good old postures. Even more of the yin philosophy! Packaged in a young-soul-kinda-way. Come and playfully unearth the silence within!
Donation-based Yin Yoga @7pm Sunday. Maitri Studio Belfast
With love,
Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash


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