Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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not. But remember, positive outcomes can only come if you deal with it right at the moment.
   Bullshit prevention must always be done within the context of a loving relationship. Just as with any form of discipline, it is both the intention and the method of applying the truth which carry the lesson for the misbehaving child.

~Awareness & Memory Training~

   Previously I mentioned the fundamental lessons children need to learn so as to be able to discern right and wrong behaviours for different situations. These are memory training, self awareness training, and self discipline. But please remember, I do not see these as simply short term ways of enhancing behaviour, but as fundamental skills necessary for all areas of life which, if infused early enough, will greatly help to avoid behavioural problems in early childhood.
   Awareness training is one of yoga's fundamental aims, be it in formal meditation training or in everyday life. Be Here Now - When Sitting Just Sit - Watch What You Are Doing. All these aphorisms are saying the same old thing - that is, focus your mind on what you are doing, right here, right now; don't be distracted by outside or inside matters. And they also hint at being a witness to yourself whilst in the act.
   You see, one part of us is the doer and another part is seeing the doer. That is the same as all techniques of meditation. There is inner meditation and outer meditation, inner yoga and outer yoga. The yogi strives to make both these fields of awareness one and the same.
   People often ponder - what is memory, how does it work? In a nutshell, good memory is simply having full awareness of what you are doing when you do it. If you are not really interested in what someone is saying, and don't pay much attention to the conversation, you will not remember a thing they said or even their name. But if you are intently listening and absorbing deeply, then you will remember, not only the message but also the time and place it occurred. Memory is also hindered by stressful situations, so in relation to young children, a life that reduces stress is important in helping to increase awareness and improve memory.
   We all recognise this situation: "Where did I put my coffee cup just before I went to answer the phone"? The reason we do not remember is because we weren't 

conscious of where we put it.The mind and the body put it down unconsciously. We did it, but we did not see ourself doing it. We were thinking - "Who might that be ringing me up at this time?" whilst looking over at the clock. Our mind was not there, right with the coffee cup at that time, so no conscious recollection (or memory) was possible. So much forgetfulness, so much poor communication, so many accidents - from cutting a finger whilst chopping vegies to driving onto the wrong side of the road whilst reading a roadside advertisement - all occur as a result of poor awareness in the moment.
   And it is exactly the same for children only more so. Their young minds are, by nature, very scattered - except when completely absorbed watching a little bug or doing a drawing, etc. Their natural thirst for new experiences, their childish exuberance, directs their consciousness in the fashion of a mosquito. But whilst there is always a need for this spontaneous mental wandering, there is also a need to have wilful focus, right from the very beginning. It starts with that very first breastfeed - letting your baby know that they have your full attention and letting them know that you expect their full attention when it really matters.
   Since children are less capable of training themselves than adults, it is up to us to teach them to concentrate and to have self awareness through example and through verbal reminders. To teach this ability, one must therefore be a good practitioner oneself, and here it is the yoga techniques which can help as catalysts for such awareness training.
   Some of the most common things that can inhibit the growth of awareness and concentration, by shortening the human attention span are: television; overloading children with too many options, for example lots of toys; and constant distractions when they are trying to focus on something which naturally attracts them.


From Without or Within?
   As we all know, discipline can have two distinctly different forms - the externally administered kind or the internally inherent kind known as self discipline. There have been arguments for centuries over which works best for children and how best to balance the two. I don't believe that either is innately better but that each has its uses and, used wisely together, both can help build better human character.

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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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