Many yogis don’t discover the practice until adulthood, but there is plenty of research showing that mindfulness practices can profoundly affect children’s emotional and mental well-being. The same affirmations that empower us to let go of limiting habits and thought patterns as adults may start our kids off right: with the tools to navigate life’s challenges with confidence, awareness, and compassion. Here are seven yogic messages that every child (and adult, for that matter) should hear regularly:
- “You are enough” : You are whole. You are perfect. You are complete. Life lessons and growth are not about changing who you are, they are about realizing who you are ( svadyaya ) and stepping into your potential.
- “You are powerful” : You have a purpose on this earth ( dharma ). You are mighty. Be mindful of your words ( satya ) and actions ( ahimsa ), because they will certainly make a difference in the world. Muster the self-discipline ( tapas ) to wield your power responsibly. Create a legacy you can be proud of.
- “You have enough” : Money and things may be necessary to build your legacy, but wanting more than you need directs energy away from attaining your true birthright: to live a life filled with purpose and joy ( aparigraha ). Understand that contentment is found in a balanced life, not in life spent chasing extreme highs and quick fixes. Expect no more than you’ve earned. Take only what is given freely ( asteya ). Be generous. Be kind. Watching a breathtaking sunset from the deck your private yacht is cheapened when if you have no loved ones to share it with.
- “Some things just happen” : Life will devastate you. Despite your power, some events will be frustratingly outside your control and there will be nothing you can do to change them. Sometimes these things happen for a reason. Sometimes these things just happen. Either way, all you can do is surrender control, work toward acceptance, and trust that one day you will feel like you’re standing on solid ground again ( isvara pranydana ).
- “It’s okay to have feelings” : Accepting loss and change is not easy. It is normal to feel grief, sadness, frustration, and anger. Resisting these feelings or pretending they’re not there only creates more suffering. Being okay with unpleasant feelings ( santosa ) and expressing them in healthy ways won’t make them go away immediately, but it will allow you to move through them with grace.
- “We are all the same” : You are enough. So is every other person you come in contact with. Never try to make anyone feel like they are anything less than perfect. You are powerful. So is everyone else. You are not meant to express your power by squelching someone else’s. Avoid those who try to squelch yours. Hold people accountable for their actions, but recognize that senseless, devastating things happen to others as well: be compassionate ( karuna ) and hold space for others’ feelings.
- “Remember to have fun” : It’s easy to get caught up in the responsibilities of growing up and planning for the future, but never forget that joy ( sukha ) and pleasure ( kama ) are parts of a full life. Be curious. Explore. Experiment. Create. Play!