Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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brain now knows how to make the heterolateral movements - except the bum-shufflers who will be at a disadvantage here, not having learned the left-right-left-right motor technique.
   Already knowing the merits of fast travel through that super fast crawl they have perfected in following you around the house for 6 - 8 months, new toddlers previously deduced that walking will be even quicker, so when they first do it they rush at it, expecting to make the same ground. But they soon discover it is a very different skill. Along the way there is lots of falling over onto hands, knees and face; plopping down onto their bum; crying; getting up again; as well as pulling things down off ledges you never thought they would reach so quickly!


 (a)                      (b)


Figure 48 - Standing and Walking

   Once they can walk, they can use several methods to get standing from their usual ground positions. (i) From sitting, they can make an unsupported squat (Figure 49a), and then straighten their legs to stand and walk. This is called Utthanasana (the Squat and Rise Pose) and indicates a fully flexible set of legs and feet, and a strong, straight spine. (ii) From kneeling they may go onto hands and knees and then into a squat to stand up. (iii) From kneeling they may go onto their hands and feet (Figure 49b) to stand up. The latter indicates an already inferior postural predisposition to stiff legs and weak spine (possibly congenital, possibly from lifestyle habits such as strollers and car seats).


          (a)                      (b)

Figure 49 - Getting Up

   The above stages in the evolution of a baby's posture clearly show us how nature has designed the human body to move in the most efficient ways. Each stage of spinal development is clearly a prerequisite for the next and is closely tied in to the ways in which our brain and our thinking need to develop. A child will then go about their day using whatever postures and body move-ments come most naturally until the domestic and social structures around them start to dictate otherwise. As they grow up and into more and more use of furniture - car seats, high chairs, dining chairs, lounge suites, pre-school furniture, and beyond - by about 12 most kids choose not to sit on the floor but up on furniture in imitation of adults. By this time you will notice they have started to lose their early ways of moving and their natural flexibility. It is from around this time that back problems begin to develop, their life energy starts to wane, their bowels become less functional, and as puberty kicks in, the sum of all this can lead to habitual patterns of teenage and adult sloth. I believe that it is parents' duty to avoid this slide into postural degeneration by allowing their children plenty of time and opportunity to remain at ground level and by frequently getting down there yourself.

The Energy Effects of a Baby's Yoga
   When I say "baby yoga" I don't mean they get taught to do adults yoga at an early age, I mean the way they do yoga asana-type-things in their natural phases of postural development. All yoga postures can be divided into either stimulating, sedating or groups. If you wonder why your baby just seems to go from energy awakening, to energy awakening, to energy awakening, and so on, it is because, by instinct, they do only the stimulating postures! For the first 2 years, their whole body / mind complex is in the business of waking up, expanding, making more energy for growth, such that the only antidote can be long deep, sleep. Interest-ingly, there are a whole series of yoga posi-tions in those aforementioned evolutionary groups they just never do spontaneously. Shashankasana (pose of the Child), Animal Relaxation Pose, full forward bends, inverted poses and the cross legged sitting poses - all of which are pacifying and adrenal sedatives. They all invoke the attitude of "look inward at yourself" which is hardly what a child wants to do!

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Please Note:
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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