Yoga Retreat
Mother As First Guru ( By Swami Gurupremananda Saraswati
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   A young child does not need complexity nor continual background presence to appreciate music. Simple repetitive rhythms and melodies are the most attractive to them and will most effectively "teach" them what music is about. Primitive rhythms will begin to come out of a young child as soon as they are able to bang something. Once they learn that A hitting B equals noise, they soon start to imitate any rhythms and sounds they hear around them. If the first noises they hear are those nasty  squeaking-squawking-honking-squeezable plastic toys; if your house is usually cacophonous, with a constant competition between stereos, TVs and radios; if there is always dialogue going on about senseless things; if their early toys include the rat-a-tat-tat of plastic guns and clackers; then that is the sort 

begins to make proper sense to them that wilful of sound ambience they will begin to compete with and imitate. But if they have been exposed to a wide range of harmonious music then that is what they will aspire to.
   The volume of any music to which a child is exposed is of particular relevance. For the first few weeks / months of their life they must be protected from sudden loud sounds which might shock them. If there are older children in the house, they must be taught that a young baby's hearing is very sensitive. And if a baby starts to believe that music must always be loud (because the parents like to hear it in all rooms of the house at once) then they will lose that very valuable attribute of listening intently, which is so important in understanding and enjoying music, as well as in being able to hear the subtle nuances of sound outside and in nature.



~The Many Behaviours~

   The topic of "a child's behaviour" is usually thought to apply to children of an age where they know what is expected of them rather than the instinctive behaviours of infants. The phrase "The Terrible Two's" comes straightaway to mind. But even before they are of an age to use wilful behaviours, babies can be taught (and therefore exhibit) all sorts of desirable and undesirable behaviour patterns. Mothers are continually surprised at how early a baby can exhibit specific patterns of behaviour, outside of the expected instinctive moods and reactions.
   As soon as you sense a baby has awareness of their own desires and ability to act at will (anywhere from around 3 months), you can assume they will soon start using it to their own advantage! A young baby's first tussles with his mother will come firstly at the breast when feeding, in conjunction with knowing that being put into a cot means separation from her. Ways of approaching and managing those specific behavioural issues have been covered previously in the breastfeeding and sleeping sections. Following those times, the next phase of challenging behaviours usually comes around the time of first solids, and this has also been covered previously.
    It is from about the age of 8 months when crawling starts and language 

patterns of behaviour become more pronounced, and from this time your way of managing this will set the scene for many years of behaviour patterns. Let us look first at the familiar notions surrounding behaviour in general, before examining the specifics of childhood behaviours.

Appropriate and Contextual Behaviours
   Firstly, I use the word "behaviours", in the plural, because it is obvious that we humans have many types of behaviour. We keep different sets of behaviour on hand to use whenever and wherever we sense they are appropriate. In any situation, what is judged as acceptable behaviour is totally dependent on the context in which it is found. Social, cultural, religious, ethical, moral, institutional, professional, familial or personal codes of behaviour, all vary from place to place, time to time and person to person. So no-one can really set any absolute standards for behaviour. We can only live by the relative standards set down by those who govern each particular situation in which we find ourselves.
   When it comes to teaching children so-called "good behaviour" what we are really trying to teach them is appropriate behaviour for the particular situation. From as soon as they start visiting different households, and definitely by the age at which they start pre-school, children have realised there are different

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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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