One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to workout and get back into shape. If you remember, I was in a terrible car accident back in January 2019. I am still undergoing Physical Therapy and attempting to get back to my “normal”. Well, I have been trying out yoga and it is defintely challenging! During the classes, the instructors repeat words of wisdom and encouragement. These yoga lessons directly connect to the Special Needs World and should be embraced.
Respect Your Space
You will often hear this phrase at the beginning of class when the instructor gives their introduction and thanks you for participating in class. They will acknowledge your decision to join the class and remind you to respect your space and be present in the moment. I have also heard my instructors say to leave your to-do lists and worries outside. It’s funny because almost everytime they say this phrase, I am going over my to-do list in my head.
This phrase can be translated in so many different ways but I will share my perspective. As a Special Needs Parent, Teacher or Provider, we tend to take care of others and leave ourselves for later. However, later never comes and we continue to deplete ourselves until we are running on empty. To “Respect Your Space” you need to be mindful of your own needs too.
Ask yourself: When was the last time I did something that was ONLY for me? When did I make time for my self-care? If you don’t have an answer, then you are not respecting your space. You cannot give or serve others if you are struggling to hold it together.
I challenge you to schedule something just for at least 30 minutes EVERYDAY! I know that may seem like alot if you can’t remember the last time you did something for yourself, but it is not an option, it is necessary. Just like the kiddos we love and work with, we start to show signs of our mental drain that can be illustrated in a variety of ways.
Have you ever been snappy and realized you were overreacting? Have you noticed you are withdrawing from activities? The precursers of mental drain are right in front of you. We need to work as a Community to acknowledge and assist the others in our tribe when they start to show these signs. We can work together to respect our space.
You Can Do Hard Things
This phrase always slaps me in the face. Yoga is not easy. There are several poses that will make certain areas on your body that will burn and make you want to quit. I question my sanity at times and then try to convince myself that I need a break. The instructors can definitely see the pain and agony and will often say, “You can do hard things!”
There are times when the struggle as a Special Needs Parent, Teacher or Provider becomes so real that it can be hard to keep going through our day. I will never forget the day my son was kicked out of daycare due to his behaviors.The overwhelming feeling of defeat was suffocating. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and do nothing. The struggle for teachers and providers is very similar. They will endure physical aggression, unkind words and feel defeated too. But remember, you can do hard things!
When we push through the hard times, amazing things happen! I did not give up when I needed to find childcare for my son, instead I found the most amazing woman that helped him blossom. Teachers will see the child that was struggling grasp the difficult lesson! Therapists will get to see a first independent mand, tact or other breakthrough that otherwise wouldn’t have happened without their support!
We can do hard things! We can work together and make the hard things a little easier. And most importantly, all of the wins deserve to be celebrated!
Your Power Comes from Your Breath
During a yoga session there will be many references to your breath and you will be reminded often when to breathe in and out during poses. My first class instructor stated that the only difference between a beginner yogi and a seasoned yogi was their breath. She stated that the veterans have more power because your power comes from your breath. In fact, it will lower your heart rate during those difficult poses.
This phrase hit home for me. Your power comes from your breath meant two important things. One, I will eventually learn how to breathe with practice and experience. Two, if I want to decrease the time it takes to learn and increase my effective breathing, I need to find a verteran yogi to help me! Another amazing part of the yoga experience is that you are a community supporting each other.
Life is the same! The first thing I did after I learned my son had special needs was to search for others that had more experience in parenting a child with special needs. Veterans have more experience and can give you tips and tricks that can help you learn to breathe through the difficult moments. It’s natural to look for a tribe that loves and accepts you wholeheartedly.
If you would like a little Veteran advice, I highly reccommend reading how I use Alexa in my special needs parenting! When parenting, teaching or working within the Special Needs Community becomes difficult, remember to take a deep breath because that is where your power lies. You got this!