I have had a growing interest in mediation and I decided to talk to my client Wendy Weymann, who is a local yoga and meditation teacher to see if she had any advice for local parents that might be helpful in developing a mediation practice. I have known and worked with Wendy for years and I really appreciate her. She’s a warm, generous soul and she helped me fall in love with SUP Yoga. I used to look forward to her classes back when I lived in Mission and she taught at Iron Lotus too. She’s just one of those really unforgettable, likeable people. This is what we chatted about:
What are some ways that moms will find that having a meditation practice can be helpful in raising their kids?
Meditation basically saved me. I started practicing when my kids were three and five and I was so stressed out and I just found having little kids so stressful, like with everything that’s going on, like the busyness and the noise and just kind of the sheer exhaustion of caring for them. It just totally got to me like I was just like, “I can’t do this anymore.” And then when I started meditating, it was like nothing changed on the outside, but everything in my inner landscape changed. It wasn’t like they got better or it was less exhausting, but I was able to completely change my experience of having little kids into something that was just like, “Oh my God, this so exhausting. I can’t do this” to like, “Okay, I can handle this. I got this.”
Parenting can be really busy. How do you suggest starting to develop a meditation practice when it seems like moms or dads work is just never done?
Yeah, that’s a good question. I have a blog on my website about that actually. Basically, put it to the top of your priority list. I realized during that time, “You know what? The house gets cleaned, the groceries get into the fridge, like, the stuff gets done, I’m going to meditate first,” and then everything else got done anyway. And then what I also really noticed was that if I meditated first, I was able to be a lot more efficient in getting all the other stuff done. So for me it was just way easier to meditate first and then do the other things.
There is an element of training your kids. So what happened was I used to meditate and then Sophie would, knock on the door. And she’d be like, “Are you done? Are you done?” I was like, “No, no.” So what I did with her is I gave her a timer, like a little egg timer and I said, “When this beeps then I’ll be done. You can come and get me when this is done.” So she thought it was super cool that she could have the timer. So that actually worked quite well.
Some people think developing a meditation practice involves a lot of different components, like you need special things to do that. Is there truth to that? How can you get started with meditation?
Yeah, I don’t think that’s true at all. I think meditation is like the easiest, most cost effective way to manage your life. Basically, I mean, you don’t even have to be able to sit up. You can do it lying down. It’s very simple and really if you just want to get like super simple and do a practice that’s truly effective, follow your breath, so just sit and just breathe and just let go of everything else for eight to 10 minutes a day. Try that for a month and see if it’s working for you. You don’t need some fancy meditation teacher or course or anything really. It’s accessible to everyone.
How will you know that it started working? What are some things you might notice after you’ve developed an affective meditation strategy? What might that look like?
Yeah, for me, that looks like really kind of figuring things out on my own. Like I was wondering why I was so stressed out all the time. And then more I meditated, the more I figured out that I’m really noise intolerant actually. I was getting mad all the time, getting frustrated with my kids and then feeling bad because I was like, “Why am I yelling at them all the time?” And the more I meditated the more I started to realize it’s not them that I’m mad at, it’s the noise. I just can’t handle the noise and I’m super noise sensitive. So this constant noise around me is what’s making me angry, it’s not the kids. My teacher always used to say “You have to notice the results of your practice. You have to tune into it and be aware of it and look for ways that it’s shifting.”
Is meditation something that can be helpful for our kids and how can we help them develop a practice?
Yeah, I think that the best way we can help kids is the mindfulness practice. Like, I just don’t think it’s realistic to have kids like sitting down, meditating. It never worked with my kids and I’ve had the odd, my niece or nephew would be like, “Can I meditate with you?” But they can’t really. But you can go into the mindfulness practice. You don’t have to be meditating to be mindful. And one of the easiest ways to get mindful is to tune into your senses. So like, if you can taste it, touch it, hear it, smell it, then you’re being mindful. So that to me is an easy way for parents to get their kids into mindfulness. That’s an easy way to kind of bring your kids back into the moment.