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Learning from our children

Learning from our children Article
In this post:

Before you read any further I want you to get into the squat position. Place your computer, tablet or phone on the floor in front of you. Are you ready? Ok, remain there while you read this blog.

As a parent it’s your duty to raise your child as best as you can. Keep them safe, guide them and teach them right from wrong. We are the adults and have more life experience, so we know what is best. Or do we?

If we were to allow ourselves to sit back and take some time to simply observe our children, I think we all could learn a thing or two from them.

1. Breathing

It’s pretty important, it is the first thing we do when we come into the world and the last thing we do when we leave. All life revolves around it yet we pay it very little attention.

Observe how a baby breathes. Watch how the belly moves up and down in time with their breaths. This is called diaphragmatic breathing and it’s how we all should breathe but 90% of adults, can’t do this. Instead we breathe into our chests. This is also how we breath when under stress.

Think about your breathing pattern when frightened or running from danger. How does someone who is in pain or seriously ill breath? Short, rapid, panicking breaths, like they are struggling for air.

Compare this to how you would breath when meditating or practicing yoga. They are slow, controlled, deep breaths, that pulls the air down towards the belly.

These examples may be from the far ends of the spectrum but I chose them to illustrate my point as I’m sure you can all relate to them.

The fix: lie on you back and place two objects, like a couple of books on top of you. One on your chest, the other on your belly.

The goal of this exercise is to have the book on the belly rise and fall in time with your breath without allowing the book on the chest to move. It might be harder than it sounds but once you ingrain this pattern you should begin to notice a difference.

2. Play

As a child we are able to create games at will. Having fun was the only rule. We climbed, rolled, skipped, ran, swung, tumbled and fell. Handstands, cartwheels and brachiating were not seen as working out, it was fun.

As we grow we allow ourselves to conform to society’s rules. As parents we fall into this trap and find ourselves telling our children to stop doing that, you’re too old for this, you can’t do that here etc.

Maybe if we shook off the shackles of society and allowed ourselves to release our inner child we would be happier. I know from my personal experiences in both coaching and doing, that unearthing a forgotten skill or learning a new one like a handstand has adults laughing, losing their inhibitions and becoming like children once more.

The fix: allow yourself to embrace your inner child. So what if you make a fool of yourself, laugh it off, get up and try again. Keep trying until you get it. Trust me, nailing a ten second handstand for the first time is a feeling that’s hard to beat.

3. Squatting

When a child wants to examine something what do they do? Do they bend over?  No, they drop into a perfect squat. Why? Because it is a natural resting position.

I read an article a while back that said sitting is the new smoking. It made a lot of sense. There are so many people, old before their time because they do not move. The saying you are only as old as your spine is very true. You can be 50 years old and have the mobility of someone in their 90’s or you can be 85 and move like a 40-year-old.

The lifestyle we lead in the Western world has stolen our ability to squat. Everywhere you look there are seats. We use them for work, watching TV, eating, relaxing and talking. The list goes on.

Compare this to countries in Asia where you will see people gathered in a group talking, waiting for a bus or eating food laid on the floor, all while in the squat.

This simple movement could be all it takes to add years on to your life. It encourages mobility of the spine, hips and ankles as well as keeps your knees strong and healthy.

The fix: Start to sit in the squat. Ido Portal issued a challenge that I believe everyone should take up, regardless of age or abilities. Sit in a squat position for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. It can be broken up as you need, 30-seconds, 1-minute, 5-minute or 10-minute intervals. Whatever you can manage. Get yourself as low as you can, relax and just sit there. Do it every day and accumulate 30 minutes throughout each day. The aim being that by day 30 you can do 30-minutes straight.

So how did you cope with the squat while reading this? If you struggled then hopefully it will serve as a wake-up call.


Written by admin

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