I have recently discovered HOT yoga. And, by hot, I mean like 113 degrees hot. It’s crazy, dripping sweat-hard! I’m not the typical Yogi and I don’t have one single pair of Lululemon pants. My thin, blue, slippery mat is from Target and I use a beach towel on top. I’m not trying to be all super-Zen-cool however, I have found a real Zen spirit from this practice.
It’s one guaranteed quiet place for almost an hour and a half, most parent’s dream! Some classes have music, while others do not. Either way, I like it. It’s a different kind of relaxation and exercise all at the same time. More than anything, it’s so good for the mind. So for now, it’s become a part of my week.
I think we all, young and old, need a quiet space and a quiet time. Mine is currently in a humid, dark room filled with sweaty bodies. My son’s is with a pack of Legos. It’s one of the few times he’ll sit perfectly quiet and very still for long periods of time in his own little world. My daughter’s downtime is seated in front of her imaginary class playing school. She does this at least 3 of the 5 school days when she comes home. It’s not filled with noise, it’s not busy, and it doesn’t require a lot of thought. Our quiet activities are unique, like us. It doesn’t involve a flashing screen and stimulation overload. It needs to be slow and quiet.
The quiet mind has time to reflect, time to relax, and time to grow. For centuries, religions have encouraged a quiet time whether it’s praying, meditating, or simply sitting still. Research teaches us that young children learn most from free, unstructured play. This free play allows for our mind to go where it feels, instead of where it’s being directed to go. Up until age 6, I required my children to have a quiet time in their room for a couple hours so all of us could regroup. After they stopped napping, it was still such a nice break in the day for all of us. You choose what you want to do, and do it in peace without someone telling you what to do.
In this busy, fast-paced life, that doesn’t happen that much. We are all overscheduled and overworked. There’s no free-time built into school, and barely any play time either with recess always being less than 25 minutes. Extracurriculars are encouraged and also almost expected. Busier is better, and I’m also guilty! But, adults and children need both playtime and also a quiet time to relax. Overscheduled children and adults suffer mentally, physically and emotionally when we are overstressed.
For me, it is exercise that quiets my busy mind. It’s now the sweaty yoga studio. I like it because not only is my body stretched but also my mind, forced to stay still and quiet. I hope everyone, especially parents and their children, also make time for some quiet space.
- Take a walk.
- Run without music.
- Lay without sleeping.
- Play without electronics.
- Make art.
- Play school! Play Legos! Or, Practice yoga!
- ……Think without being told what.