By Lara Hocheiser, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder/Owner, and Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Teacher Training Graduate and Blog Manager
The next yama we're spotlighting in our Yoga Philosophy Spotlight blog series is Brahmacharya, sometimes translated as "austerity" or "moderation". It's a tool for knowing when enough is enough. This yama is important in today’s society because of its tendency to push too far -- which can overwhelm our bodies, sometimes to the point of injury, exhaustion, or other unhealthy conditions.
Brahmacharya can also help us to feel greater contentment with our lives as they are; rather than striving for something idyllic, we can be real with what we have today through calling upon humility, moderation, and self-awareness -- things that also help us to sense our physical boundaries. We can focus our attention on moderation, and from there feel the balance of effort and ease.
In a kids yoga class (or any yoga class), we need to remember brahmacharya with poses. Not everybody will look the same or be able to align their bodies in the same way in each pose, and that is okay! Some poses will make certain bodies feel good, but others may not feel good. We are all different, and we need to learn to trust our bodies and do what is good for them. We do not need to exert to the point of injury or "perform" yoga poses. We do not need to compete or have the best pose in the room. In fact, doing so can lead us to unnecessary mental, emotional, and/or emotional harm.
How do we cultivate this important value of moderation in the young people in our lives? For one, we can remind children to be their own cheerleaders in anything and everything they do! When we teach our kids confidence and perseverance in a healthy way, they will know when enough is enough. Imagine what it would feel like for the kids in your life to have a healthy balance of humility and moderation?
They would have the confidence to try, the humility to do so inwardly, and not need to be the center of everyone's attention to show off the most amazing pose. Competitiveness taken to an unhealthy extent would start to fade into the background. Focus, growth, and satisfaction with the developing personal practice could then come forward. Imagine what the mind would feel like when not focusing on contortion or everyone else's progress, but rather a deep focus on the present moment?
At Flow and Grow Kids Yoga, we challenge you to take a step back and reflect. Are you pushing yourself beyond your limits? Have you taken a break recently? Journal about moderation. Where have you been moderate? Where would humility, honesty, and a little less exertion improve your outcomes?
How can you pass this knowledge on to the kids you influence? Let us know your ideas -- we love hearing from people in our community! You can always email Lara Hocheiser, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder and Owner, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in learning more about how to translate yoga philosophy to the young people in your life, in a way that's accessible and meaningful? We offer a course in that! Take it individually, or along with the ten other modules in our 95-hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training. We also also have lesson plans and yoga cards on the topic for ages 7-11 and teens/tweens! Want to learn more about these offerings? Email Lara at the address listed above, or book a call with her. We hope to hear from you soon!