Nature works in cycles. Every Summer has an Winter, every full moon has a new phase, every flow has an ebb. Exhale and inhale – for every breath out, we need to breathe in.
This week I finished my course to become a Natural Mindfulness Guide (hooray! ) and I’ve been thinking deeply about how we can more time to stop and breathe in during our busy family lives. In her book ‘Happy Child, Happy Home, Lou Harvey-Zahra describes striving for this balance well – ‘breathing out’ activities are more active: outings, big, noisy play and even structured learning activities. Whereas breathing in activities give us tune to slow down, connect and re-centre.
This metaphor of activities and breath has really resonated with me, especially after completing my Natural Mindfulness course. There we talked about the importance of breath and the importance of staying in breath – physically balancing our inhales and exhales. We talk about the problems caused by physically ‘out of breath’ – poor or ineffective breathing can stop our brains from working fully, it can allow waste products and toxins to remain in our body. We can be burning more energy than we need to, our bodies are overwhelmed by stimulation and activities. Balanced breathe is required for us to fully function and maybe we need this balance between active ‘breathing out’ activities and more restful ‘breathing in’ activities to fully function too?
As a mother, I often find it hard to find the balance between breathing out and in activities, I feel like I am always striving for more time to be present and connect – especially for my school-aged child. However, as an outdoor educator, I’m also wondering if I have placed enough value on having time to breathe in. There is a lot of expectation to pack one exciting experience after another in to a session – when really having time to reconnect and to rest is of equal value to children and their families.? Especially when spending time in nature? I’m working on ways we can improve this balance in our Beach School sessions.
How do you build time to breath in during your sessions or your busy days? How do honour the natural cycle of activity and rest? I’d love to know.
I took my Natural Mindfulness Guide course (certified by the International Mindfulness & Meditation Alliance) with Ian Banyard, who I highly recommend working with for his knowledge and passion. Also written with love, honour and respect for Buddhist, Japanese and Yogic traditions upon which our western concept of natural mindfulness is based.