Being a yoga teacher and meditator does not make me a perfect parent.

I’ve realized this over the course of countless times when I have lost my temper and scared my children by yelling at them.  I’ve lost my awareness, my compassion, my calm a lot, and each time I regret it.  It frightens my young girls and erodes my relationship with them.

I feel so vulnerable  to admit this, but it’s my truth.

My mindfulness practices helped me see the problem. Once I realize the harm in my ways, there are several paths I could follow: I could try to ignore it and move on; I could succumb to self-imposed shame and berate myself; or I could practice.

Yoga teaches ahimsa, or non-harming oneself or others.  Buddhist precepts teach that loving speech and deep listening help lead to healing, transformation, and happiness in ourselves and for the world.

I had been studying and practicing these truths long before my daughters were born.  I had wonderful intentions as a parent, but the daily practice of keeping my cool when my children pushed my buttons was so much more difficult than I’d ever imagined.

But I’m changing.

So, how am I practicing compassion, loving speech, and deep listening now with my girls?

This is what I have discovered:

  • Self Care – To keep my equilibrium, I need enough sleep, exercise, and nourishing food; I need my gratitude journal, creative expression, and my daily meditation practice.  It’s quite a list, I know! But if any of these elements are lacking, I’m more prone to frustration and an outburst of temper.  If I don’t take care of myself, I have nothing to give.
  • Self Inquiry – I’ve had to do some work looking inward – at my past choices and how I was raised, as well as facing my own insecurities and fears.  I’ve read a lot of books to give me more understanding of myself and the journey of peaceful parenting.
  • Intention Setting – Right now I’m trying to stop yelling at my children. To do this I’ve set the intention and implemented a plan. I announced my plan to the family (to hold myself accountable) and made a chart.  Each day the girls can give me a smiley face if I don’t yell that day. For other goals, like practicing better listening, I’ve written affirmations (I listen to my children) to go over several times a day.
  • Progress Not Perfection – This is my mantra. Sometimes it’s a struggle not be hard on myself, after all, I aspire to ideals of compassion and peacefulness, but I’m getting better…with practice.

Now it’s your turn.

Have you lost it with your kids and felt bad? Get it off your chest in the comments below!

Be well,


P. S. Each week I share personal insights only in email. Plus subscriber yoga practices, meditations, and more.

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