Tag Archives: yama

Discipline with Love

As a veteran nanny with over 10 years of experience I have seen my fair share of tantrums, melt downs and have had days where I never thought we would be able to leave the house.  I have learned many tricks of the trade along the way, and have been hired by some families to help specifically with behavioural issues and discipline techniques.  As a yoga teacher I continually teach the principle of ahimsa, non harming, in all of my classes.  With respect to disciplining this may relate as emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually non-harming.

Parents you can discipline keeping in mind the principles of ahimsa and have success!  The biggest reason being consistency in how you choose to discipline.  With consistency your child begins to understand what the outcome will be, not may or could be, of their negative behaviour.  I had a great conversation with a few people on twitter the other night about discipline and how we choose to discipline our children.  I am here to share with you the technique that I have always used and found success with.  I have seen all types of negative toddler and preschool behaviour from hitting ones own parent, to stealing several different items, talking back, not listening and much more! 

Full disclosure –  I cannot stress enough that consistency is a big factor in successful discipline.  My husband often tells people the story of how we were standing outside with a little boy that I took care of and his parents when he started to run down the sidewalk.  Both parents began to tell him to come back and he continued to run.  I said his name once and he stopped dead in his tracks and walked back.  Why? He knew that I was always consistent in my discipline.  I wasn’t a bully about it, never lost my temper, always spoke in a calm way and never showed emotions towards the negative behaviour causing more of a reaction from the child that I didn’t want. 

1. Let your child know what behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Display positive behaviour yourself and recognize positive behaviour when your child displays it.

2. When your child displays behaviour that is not acceptable, immediately issue a warning. Get down to their eye level and speak in a calm but strong voice so your child understands that you are not playing.  Issue this warning no matter if you are at home, at the grandparents, at a park, or in a grocery store.  Hopefully the warning is enough for your child to change their choice of behaviour.  Inform your child that if they do not stop behaviour X that they will need to have a time out.

*note on time outs- I like to issue time outs in areas where I can see the child. ie: a stair step, or chair, park bench, etc. This ensures that I know the child is completing the time out, thinking about the behaviour displayed, taking time to cool down, etc. I don’t like sending a child to their room as they have toys and books to play with there, therefore defeating the purpose of a time out.  Your child can also see you, knowing that they are not being left alone.

3. If the child continues the negative behaviour immediately place them for a time out in a calm way. Continue to breathe throughout the process, knowing that if you get stressed the situation will not improve. Your child will feed off your energy. I give a minute of time out for each year of the child’s age.  See what works for your family.

4. If the child comes off the designated time out spot I calmly place them back on the step/chair and do not talk or negotiate with them as I do so.  The clock then starts again once they are properly sitting and no longer flailing their body around (I have seen some pretty good acts with this!). At times, especially in the beginning, you may spend what feels like hours placing your child back on the designated time out spot. I have had to cancel outings because I was still trying to complete the follow through process on a time out.  I promise that this does get easier. You are being tested by your child. They know that they can push your buttons and that in the past you may of become stressed, yelled or just gave in to the behaviour and stopped the time out process.

5. Once the child has completed the time out have them tell you why they were put in timeout, to make sure they understand the why, and have them apologize for the behaviour. Then share a nice big hug with your child and continue on with your day, leaving what just happened behind. Its time to start over 🙂

You will find over time as your child understands the family boundaries and what behaviour is socially acceptable you will have less and less negative behaviour.  Remember to stay calm, centered and know that you are recognizing negative behaviour and trying to correct it out of love for your child.


Yoga- “Seeing the Whole Picture” Part #1

A lot of the time when people hear “yoga” they think of the physical practice of moving the body through various postures, or sitting still in meditation.  However, yoga is a lot more than moving the body and stilling the mind. Yoga is comprised of 8 limbs, named Ashtanga yoga (not to be confused with Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga yoga that is a style and practice of yoga ).  In his yoga sutra’s Pantanjali described the 8 limbs of yoga as a way of incorporating and following a yogic lifestyle.   The limbs are practical guidelines to creating balance within the mind, body and spirit and when followed will enable an individual to reach samadhi / enlightment.  The 8 limbs of yoga are as follows: yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama, prathayara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.  In this 3- part series I will detail the 8 limbs of yoga and how you can merge them into your Little Lotus yogi’s life, and your families.

YAMA = Personal Restraints
Patanjali’s first limb of yoga, Yama, details one’s ethical and moral standards and with how an individual conducts themselves within society. There are 5 Yama’s as follows:
1. Ahimsa (Non-Violence) Little Lotus yogis are encouraged to practice sharing and caring with their peers. Compassion is also encouraged through communication- verbal and non-verbal. Encourage your child to use positive communication instead of hitting, yelling, name calling, etc. Take time to be compassionate and encourage your heart to shine through to others! Ahimsa encompasses non-violence to the self, others, animals and our environment. This may be incorporated into one’s diet by encouraging a vegetarian diet. Ahimsa may also apply to the physical practice of yoga as one respects their body and mind while on the mat. Yoga is not a competition or pushing yourself to do something that you may think you should be able to do or want to do!

2. Satya (Truthfulness) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to stay truthful to themselves and others. This may include speaking the truth, and ensuring actions are truthful to meet their goals as an individual and within their family unit. Encourage your child to be truthful, to do what feels best for them and to always speak the truth. Sat= truth ya= continuation Therefore satya is the continuation of truth. It is important that we teach our leaders of tomorrow that to lie causes yourself pain as well as others. Not telling and /or living the truth uses a lot of energy and can become draining for our mind, body and spirit.
3. Asteya (Non-Stealing) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to be creative and develop their own ideas, while not stealing ideas from others and crediting peers for their own ideas. Non-stealing of material things is also emphasized, as well as stealing time from their selves and doing something that is positive towards their development as an individual. Encourage your child to spend their time participating in activities and events that allow their mind, body and spirit to soar. By spending time on activities they may not enjoy (i.e.: music lessons) we are stealing from their creativity time and personal development

4. Bramacharya (Moderation) Little Lotus yogis are encouraged to adopt a sense of moderation within their lifestyle. This may be in the form of moderation of unhealthy food choices, riding in a motor vehicle when walking or cycling is available or any other activities or behaviors that they may display. With moderation a sense of internal balance and contentment may begin to develop within the self and the struggle of peer pressure and keeping up with others will begin to decrease over time. The next time your child would like a third cookie or another ice cream treat encourage them to make a healthy choice such as an apple or banana. Is your child having difficulty grasping that they do not need another new bathing suit, or lululemon sweater? Create an environment that welcomes and nurtures your child as they develop a sense of moderation and begin to understand the differences between moderation and over-indulgence within their life. When bramacharya is practiced it can lead the person in practice closer to God / Universal Awareness.

5. Aparigraha (Non- Attachment) Little Lotus yogi’s are encouraged to embrace and be thankful for what they have in their lives, but to also understand that these objects and materials do not make who we are as an individual. It is also important that one practices non-attachment to their on and off mat practice. What you may be able to do one day on the mat we may not the next. Practice being aware of each moment and the beauty of your surroundings. Focus on what is happening within the body instead of creating attachments to material objects, finances and things.

Stay tuned for Part #2 & #3!