Hello beautiful Mamas! Hasn’t the weather been a tease? March is funny like that — one minute the sun is tempting us to shed our toques and mitts, the next we’ve got a blizzard on our hands! For many families, it’s the time of year we round up the kiddies and (taking full advantage of March Break) load them into the car or onto a plane in search of a more predictable climate — if only to tide us over until Spring! And although we’d never say no to a vacation, we’re well aware that traveling with ‘littles’ comes with it’s own set of challenges. So today we’re sharing four mediations that you can do anywhere, to help Mamas stay grounded en-route; which ultimately helps everyone have a much happier time away from home!
Very often, meditation is practiced in a comfortable seated position, which invites ease to the body and mind. Learning to meditate in a standing position can be a little more challenging, however, the convenience of tapping into your inner-peace while standing in an airport security lineup or on a crowded bus filled with tourists is invaluable! Starting from the ground up, separate your feet to hip-distance apart. Point your feet forward and evenly distribute your weight across both feet. With every deep inhale, energize through your legs and feel the support of the ground beneath you. Grow taller through the spine. With every long exhale, slide your shoulders down your back and draw your navel in. If your hands are free, place one atop the other over your abdomen, or keep them extended by your side. Even three to five cycles of this posture + breath is all it takes to restore balance to a frantic mind, and increase your fortitude in times when your patience is wearing thin. The ground won’t let you down!
Gazing upon an object during meditation can help to center the mind, especially when there are many distractions around you. It can be as simple as a smooth stone you keep tucked in your purse. When choosing your object, keep these tips in mind: it should be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, should have a pleasing form, and shouldn’t evoke any strong emotion or memories. Have your kids choose their own objects for the journey! You can meditate (or simply have some quiet time!) together when things get a little chaotic. Just make sure the items are not valuable as things inevitably go missing in transit. Holding your object, gaze upon it with curiosity. Notice its form and how the light falls on it. Let the object’s purpose and meaning fade away. As you inhale and exhale, imagine goodwill flowing between you and your object, until it radiates with this energy in your minds-eye. As your mind grows calm, tuck away your meditation object and continue to let your goodwill flow — this time to your family.
The following two meditations are courtesy of our special guest contributor, Christine Russell, co-founder of 889 Yoga. Christine is a teacher, Mama, and an essential oil enthusiast.
Meditation with Kids
Enjoy this meditation designed to bring forth the inner-knowing that peace exists within each of us. It gives us a tool — in a quick moment — to tap into our own peace center and shift from unsettled to settled. This is a beautiful guided meditation to do on your own, or with your kids. It is designed to create a mindful moment together and to feel and know in your body that you are peace, that peace is not outside of you ’somewhere out there', and we can access peace within us in every moment. It's a great tool for your children to learn so they can do on their own when they feel upset or afraid. While traveling you can do this in the car or on the plane with your kids, or, if you just need it yourself (which we all do as Mamas!), you can silently repeat the mantra and tap your fingers for some Mama–time. Enjoy this recording.
Essential Oil Meditation
I know as a Mama, just like you do, that things can get haywire, FAST, with young kids. You can go from having a nice, calm interaction or playtime to full on tantrum with things flailing. In these incredibly challenging moments, the tool I use is my breath and Essential Oils. It’s a quick technology to shift the energy of a moment. I recommend grabbing a doTERRA Lavender Essential Oil from Toronto Yoga Mamas and having it with you at home and when you travel with your children. I can’t live without mine! Take one drop of Lavender Essential Oil in the palm of your hands, rub your hands together, and take 3 slow inhales / exhales, and then massage the oil onto the bottoms of your feet (this is where your nerve endings are and how the plant oil most easily accesses your blood stream for a relaxing response) or the back of your neck. Do the same for your little kids. They love it! I love allowing the power of plants and the power of the breath to shift a moment from chaos to calm (or calmer!).
Sometimes we grow ‘meditation’ into a loftier practice than it truly is. It’s important to remember that in the craziest times of family life (of which there are many when traveling), even if you only have a pinch of time, you can center yourself as a Mama and help restore calm from chaos. Slowly breathe-in, breathe-out, and teach your kids to do the same. We hope these meditations help you to inject moments of clarity, sanity, and love into your next family trip!