As we all know, we live in a hustle-bustle world. Often, we hear adults saying things like, “I’ll be at peace when __________ (I get a better job, get a bigger house, my house is organized, my marriage is happier, my kids behave, I lose weight, etc. etc.).” That list could fill this blog alone. Then we hear stories of people (or maybe even ourselves) who have set out on “journeys” to redefine themselves and “find” peace in their crazy lives. What we as humans in this modern world seem to forget is that we CAN have peace when life is crazy around us and when there is seemingly everything happening to disturb that peace. Let’s look at how, what that actually means, and how we can help our children to never forget like we do.

Swami Satchidananda, founder of Integral Yoga and one of Western Yoga’s greatest teachers, says that when everything is happening around you to disturb your peace, that is the time to be most peaceful. He says it is worth it, it can be done, and it’s why we have the tools we have through yoga. It seems when crazy, traumatic, sad, hurtful things happen to us or within our environment, it is natural to try to create some sort of peace of mind in the midst of those happenings. Whether it’s just cleaning house, turning off media, or connecting with nature, our bodies and minds are designed to connect with peace. Why? Because as Satchidananda says, “Peace of mind is the greatest treasure in the world.” And it is our natural state. Notice how when we become more peaceful, all the other things seem to fall into place around us, or at least our perspective shifts so we are more able to accept the current situation. It’s because, when we find peace within ourselves, we then are able to find peace in the external surroundings. If we don’t have peace within, we will not find it outside. Satchidananda says, “Everything begins at home.” We at Kidding Around Yoga interpret that differently and say, “Peace begins with me.” Find your method (cooking, yoga, meditation, breathing, getting outdoors, etc.), connect with it daily (or as often as possible), and never forget how you feel when you have it.

If you seem to have lost your peace, I challenge you to avoid blaming it on something else around you. If we lose our peace, it is because we ourselves have disturbed it with our thoughts, words, or actions. This is something I have always known intrinsically but understood more clearly on a road trip this week when I picked up a little book of teachings by Swami Satchidananda called Adversity and Awakening and was quickly reminded. For me, I say my peace comes from my relationship with and connection to God. As I read this book, Satchidananda also says this. He says, “If there is another word for God, I would say it is peace. You have peace always in you, as your True Nature. God is peace and God is in you as peace…. You are in God when you are in peace.” Beautiful, and I could not have said it better.

Any of us who have raised or spent a great deal of time with children know there is an undeniable connection between children and God. They tell stories of their time in heaven, say they see angels or even loved ones who have passed, and they often just “get” the bigger picture of God’s love and unity so much better than us adults who are out there seeking and trying to relearn what was in us from the start. So as a parent and a Children’s Yoga teacher, I strive to help children NEVER lose that connection to their inner peace. It doesn’t matter to me as much what form that takes in their lives religiously, though I have my own path and truth I follow; what matters is they never lose it and have the tools to return to it when their surroundings are not peaceful. Another thing to impart is the value of maintaining that inner peace at any cost—to teach them to treasure their peace of mind so much they never let anything shake it!

Many of us experience loss and during those times it can seem difficult to maintain peace. Recently, I experienced a great loss as well as the anniversary of a few other great losses from last year. Sure, I cried. My body responded with exhaustion. My son exhibited signs of grief as a five-and-a-half-year-old would. However, amidst it all, during these last two weeks, we maintained our peace. Nothing has shaken it and for that, I am so thankful.

Once we endure something really painful or difficult and come through it peacefully, I have noticed it seems easier to maintain that same peace among any other circumstances. This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children: peace of mind. Though, we aren’t really giving it to them since they already have it. We are giving them an example through our own practices of how to keep it, giving them tools through Kids’ Yoga of how to reconnect with it, and teaching them to value that connection to God, to their True Nature of peace above anything else. Be the peace you wish to see around you. Always remember, “Peace begins with me,” and if you forget, Kidding Around Yoga has a song to remind you.

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Kidding Around Yoga Justice Information

 Company Justice Statement

We stand with you, our Black family. At Kidding Around Yoga, we are a worldwide multicultural community committed to bringing the teaching of yoga to children and families worldwide. Our aspirations have always been to treat all humans with dignity, respect and care. We recognize that aspirations and intentions are different from impact. Our good intentions have not diminished the impact of our lack of understanding. We acknowledge the harm experienced by Black people and people of color within our organization. We have been blind to the ways in which white supremacy culture has been at play within our materials, structures and communications. We are deeply humbled and saddened to start to realize the extent to which BIPOC have been harmed, undersupported, ignored, dismissed, asked to perform emotional labor for free, and otherwise not held in the ways we aspire to hold everyone. We appreciate those who continued to point out to us our blindspots, even when we failed to listen or honor the wisdom they were bringing. We apologize. We know it is not enough. We are committing to strengthening our anti-racist actions, to continue looking deeper into our structures and personal biases, and to make ongoing changes to embody the teachings of yoga.

This is a time to wake up, to speak up, to stand up. This is a time to fight for what is right and educate those who are still in the dark. Every Black life matters. We all recognize that these are not new issues, but this IS a new opportunity to be allies and agents of change, in large and small ways. Let us not hide from this challenge or wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting. We each have a voice and a responsibility to fight for a better, more just and peaceful world. Join us as we listen, as we learn, as we change, and as we do what we do best: share the ancient and powerful practice of yoga and meditation with children across the globe.

In addition to the ways in which KAY supports bringing yoga to all children, we specifically recognize and commit to the following:

► Our materials and content need to be reviewed and updated. Some existing content contains ideas or themes rooted in racist structures we are now becoming aware of. These have caused harm and discrimination, and we are committed to a thorough review and action steps. We will give updates as to our actions regarding these materials.

We also recognize that we have not fully understood what cultural appropriation of yoga looks like. We understand that, in certain instances, we have used yoga in a way that has diminished its roots and caused harm to the culture from which it arises. We are undergoing a deep review of our materials and marketing, in this light, and will give updates as to our actions as a result of this review.

We also recognize that asking our Black teachers to share what they are doing to guide themselves through these “trying times” was felt as insensitive by many teachers. It was not our intention to cause harm in this way, but we understand how this is emotional labor, and that teachers need to be compensated for this. We will compensate any teachers we call upon to support us in this process.

We acknowledge the lack of Black leadership within KAY, and are actively expanding the leadership team to include and elevate Black wisdom and voices. This week, we are delighted to welcome Shawandra Ford and Camelia Brown onto the leadership team. We will continue to expand our team in the coming weeks.

We are revamping our KAY4ALL training to include specific anti-racist training. We will make it mandatory and included for all trainees and trainers. Meanwhile, KAY Leadership is undergoing anti-racist trainings themselves, which will be ongoing.

We are in the process of allocating resources to support scholarships for BIPOC trainees, to fund classes in underserved communities, and to offer financial support to organizations upholding anti-racism and helping make yoga accessible and available to BIPOC families.

In order to move forward and accomplish the mandates listed above, we have created a Justice Task Force. The JTF will identify and implement the changes needed within KAY. The JTF consists of seasoned and new team leaders committed to serving to create an anti-racist culture within our organization.

We will be adding tasks to the list, as we grow and evolve in our understanding of what needs to be done. We hope you will join us in doing this work in your own lives.

We are open to feedback, but we understand that it is no one’s job but ours to look, to learn, to digest, and to take action. We stand by our commitment to become an anti-racist organization whose work uplifts, supports and learns from Black wisdom and leadership.

Please email info@kiddingaroundyoga.com if you wish to reach out to us in regard to this statement, whether it’s feedback, an offer to join our efforts, or you want to be kept up to date with these promises. 

Namaste,

Kidding Around Yoga

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