Appropriate Stress and the Kapha Teen
My oldest son John is a typical Kapha who is out of balance. If you’re new to the term Kapha, it is the name of one of the three doshas that are used to assess one’s physical manifestation. In addition to being Kapha, he is also a teenager with a touch of Autism that was only recently diagnosed, so you can only imagine the exciting opportunities for Awakening we having in our house every day!
What I’ve learned through starting Yoga Therapy training is that my son really does need my help cultivating a healthy balance in his physical, anamaya kosha. As luck would have it, I’ve learned to be much more present with my children through integrative yoga practice over the past thirteen years, and that is serving me well as we enter the teen years.
Here are some wisdoms gained from my experience with my son, my training, and my own relationship to experience. I sincerely hope you can use some of these tools to help your teen transition through the energy that is in motion in their emotional quest for balance.
Creating a Safe Space
Having three children under three translates to having three children who are all blossoming into puberty at the SAME time. Couple that with learning challenges, gender fluid/non binary children, Dyslexia, and Autism and you can bet that parenting challenges will arise. I’ve spent the past five years of my life actively seeking a state of balance and compassion so that I could come to my children free of my projected material. It’s been challenging, and it doesn’t always work. Sometimes my energy leaks out in my reaction to their inquiry or exploration. I try to hold my personal feelings with compassion and grace, but I too am learning as I evolve on my spiritual path, so I have empathy for my little loves as they begin their journey into the real world. That said, I find that creating a safe space and teaching my children to resource themselves has been the most challenging topics.
Appropriate Boundaries and Sense of Self
I teach my children that their room is an extension of their body. Their bodies are vehicles to inform learning and ultimately awaken into a compassionate loving sense of Self. We care for our bodies, and we should care for our dwellings too. Creating a cozy, clean, safe space for your child to recharge is a step towards helping them to develop skills needed to resource their energy and recharge.
From my own experience as an educator, I find that we are often times teaching more strategies in school and at home that are designed to help our students and children focus and learn. This seems counter productive if we don’t also offer them opportunities to learn how to down regulate their nervous system and return to their essential state of being.
Meet Yourself Where You Are At Each Day
Everyday is a new opportunity for growth and exploration. I teach my children to wake up and refresh. Finding a personal routine is uplifting and supportive and helps you to start the day at any age. A warm shower can be soothing and stimulates the release of serotonin, the happy hormone that brightens mood.
I have a warm cup of tea to stimulate my endocrine system and my digestive system. Teaching children to start the morning off with a large glass of room temp still water is a great way to help get the blood flowing and the belly primed for digestion of breakfast. Smart breakfast options that complement your dosha and promote balance in the body are also great morning options.
Learn Your Patterns and Be Honest With Yourself
My son John leans so much towards Kapha tendencies that it is important that I stay present with him and help him to see his innate patterns without judgement. He loves sugar cereals, but those offer no nutritional benefits and do not support his digestive balance. John needs to eat proteins, vegetables, and nuts that support healthy fats and promote metabolic process. I work with John to eat foods that will help him to maintain energy over long periods of time, that are low in fat and carbohydrates.
We also work on appropriate stress. In my experience as a mother and teacher, I believe children need both a safe space and a bit of a push to achieve their potential. John is currently experiencing a Kapha imbalance which presents an attraction towards a sedentary lifestyle. John does not like to work out, and he struggles with low tone. Rather than forcing him into sports or other physical activities I’ve had to meet him where he is at, and many times that is on the couch.
I find short, high intensity workouts burn the most calories for the least amount of effort. I notice that John appreciates when I apply empathy to his proclivities. Between daily walks and short high intensity workouts, John has committed to his health. He enjoys that I’m participating in his health by working out with him. When we show up for our kids they learn how to show up for themselves.
Using Experience to Promote Growth
I try to look at each experience as an opportunity to awaken deeper. Whether it’s teaching my children to be aware of their skin, wash their face, drink more water, or learn to sit in silence — each experience is a gift to dive deeper into the present moment. They learn to slow down, to notice, to feel into the magic that is always available.