Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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become more like her baby, so that once the baby is born the mother will be more in tune with his experience of the world, rather than her own previous pre-pregnancy one.
   As I go through each of the 6 senses below, keep in mind that each of them connects with the development of a particular chakra, the attributes of which, as relating to development of the child, will be dealt with in the following section. The order in which the 6 senses develop, parallels exactly the evolution of the individual's consciousness, and is exactly the same as the ascending order of chakras, from the base to the crown.

Sense of Smell
   For a new born baby, their sense of smell is of primary importance to their survival. It is that recognition of odour which causes the first identification between mother and baby in all mammals. It is also no coincidence, that if air and food are our two most important survival resources, the quality of both these are monitored initially by the sense of smell. A baby's first smells are the birthing fluids and, soon after, the hormones from your sweat glands produced by the ardour of labour. Next, it is the smell of the first drops of colostrum which causes a baby's desire to breastfeed. For 9 months his nose has been filled with your / his amniotic fluid. That is his reference point from which all smelling will start and as he extends his smelling skills out into his new world, it makes sense that his first smells should only be related to his nurturer and a more natural birthing environment.
   In addition to instinctively knowing his carers by smell, he will soon recognise his own bedding, his own mattress, his sleeping room, his house, and his local neighbourhood. Each of these things should offer a pleasant smelling familiarity out of which he learns about personal and familial territory.
   The way in which a child develops their love (or hatred) of certain foods is closely related to the smells around which he grows up. Fresh air from the local environment, a pleasant smelling house, with the enticing aromas of regular home cooking followed by tasty food at meal times, will all gradually educate his nose and palate to what is good for respiration and good for eating. But a polluted environment and a smelly house where take away or tasteless food is the norm, will only create a child of limited olfactory skills with poor respiratory and afflicted digestive function.
   Just like gross noises and toxic tastes, fouls smells should also be kept away from young babies. Industrial pollution, automotive exhausts, chemical odours

are all obvious sources which can damage a baby's sensitive and developing nasal passages. Many plastic toys, although deemed safe to suck on, exude a funny smell and, as well as such toys being artificial and ugly, I consider such things should be excluded from young babies in place of naturally occurring smells like fruits, vegetables, flowers, leaves, natural fibres like wool, cotton and timber. Giving your baby little smelling opportunities when out and about in nature and sharing with him the smell of what you are about to eat will help educate his nose and stimulate his understanding of what are "good" and "normal" things.
   Not worrying too much about masking the usual smells of his excretions will also create a greater acceptance of bodily odours. Dousing everything in a baby's home with antiseptics and room deodorisers to mask the smells of the usual baby excretions will only create a falsely smelling environment, masking the realities of life of which we should be accepting and familiar. The solid motions of a healthy (breastfed and later on vegetarian) baby rarely smell offensive. In fact, the odour and texture of their faeces is a good indicator of dietary imbalances (or even teething). General airing and cleaning of rooms is sufficient to remove the odours of young children, with perhaps a little bit of incense occasionally to add variety and peace to the room.
   Many women these days go to great lengths to mask their own natural body smells with more socially acceptable odours from soaps and perfumes. It is the natural smells of our bodies that attract men to us in tune with our fertility needs and it is our natural body odours that a baby will best respond to. The breastfeeding baby will be snuggling into your breast and armpit aroma many times a day, for many months, and during those times he should be close to the smell that is really you, rather than choking on the latest underarm deodorant! Hormones given off by your skin at different times in your day and month will subtly affect his own mood and his digestion of the milk he consumes. The sense of smell is indeed an important way of communicat-ing.
   Of course, hygiene for both mother and baby are important, with a routine of daily bathing essential. But one should avoid using strong smelling soaps and perfumes for mother, as well as to avoid soaps and talcs for baby. Soap is often an irritant to a young baby's skin, even those special baby soaps. Personally, I don't see why a tiny baby, living on nothing but fresh air and mother's milk, wrapped up asleep for most of the day,

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The complete ‘Mother As First Guru’ Set also contains Book 2 + 2 audio cds. Book 2 relating to comprehensive Yoga Practices as well as the Audio Instructional practices (2 cd set) are only available with your purchase and is NOT available on the Reading Room.

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