“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Network contributor, or reader, or fan, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free pass.”
Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.
Purnima Ramakrishnan: Are your children practicing Heartfulness meditation?
Dr. Veronique Nicolai: Yes. Our daughter started a little less than a year ago. She has seen us meditating since she was born. She said she was waiting for her to be old enough to start. We have always shared whatever we learned or discovered with Heartfulness with them. But I always told her that what I could share was nothing compared to what I am experiencing and she could know about meditation only when she was going to try it herself.
So, now that my daughter meditates, she comes out of her meditation with her eyes shining and says – “Wow!” I am happy that she started her own wonderful inner journey.
A child practicing Heartfulness Relaxation
PR: What are the health benefits you have observed in your child(ren) after they have started Heartfulness meditation?
VN: I have not only seen my daughter, but also other youth starting meditation early, and it has been amazing to see how strong it makes them. Children look incredibly happier; it shows on their face, they keep this brightness in their eyes. They are whole, authentic and balanced. And what is more important, this attitude is supported by the meditation practice, so it stays with them even when they fly out of the nest.
I used to worry about how my children were going to manage in the ‘outside world’ and I would have been easily over protective. But with them meditating and keeping their heart compass intact, I am very confident that they will help other youth find their balance too.
PR: What about the other holistic benefits for children to try Heartfulness Relaxation?
VN: I will give you a very practical example of how my son uses the Heartfulness relaxation. He is very sensitive and movies or stories can impress him. Sometimes he says he feels heavy and not able to fall asleep. So we do the relaxation together. I hold his feet in my hands and guide him into relaxation. And it helps like magic!
A child relaxing before going to sleep, relaxing before their exams or revisions, relaxing at these crucial times, helps him/her in the long run, in his life. It gives composure and they perform better. For some time, I did not even know they were doing it at school and enjoying it.
Such relaxed states of mind, helps us bring into this world, a balanced, content, happy breed of humanity who loves peace. We have a better generation ahead of us, which is not just holistic benefits for children, it is a holistic world, filled with compassion and peace.
PR: Please share a few things about Heartfulness Meditation which children and mothers should know for effective practising.
VN: To have balanced children, you have to have balanced parents. So the onus is first on us – parents. You can relaxation techniques for your younger kids whenever there is a stress, or to help in a difficult moment. But I would definitely recommend using it as a routine to go to sleep, everyday. It helps the child to enter sleep in relaxed manner and will ensure a quality sleep.
The hours of sleep before midnight are most important as deep sleep happens then. Deep sleep is crucial for growing children; it is then that the body heals, fights against infection and inflammation and when the growth hormone is produced.
We do not insist enough on the importance of a good night’s sleep in a growing child. It is even truer for teenagers!
The Heartfulness relaxation will teach in a natural way the child to listen to his heart, because the Heartfulness relaxation takes the child to the heart. And that is where the greatest values lie, and it will shape the child’s destiny.
Part – 1 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview is published here.
World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their meditation conferences, the next one is at NJPAC. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.
Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here .
She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award .
She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page .
She also contributes to Huffington Post .
Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!
This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.
She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.
When meditation became the big thing last year, just like yoga in the 1970s, my editor at Taiwan’s Commonwealth Parenting Magazine wanted me to write a piece about meditating with children. So I interviewed Jeff Zlotnik of Meditation Initiative for this assignment. He told me that kids can begin to practice meditation at the age of five, starting with a two minute session.
“Seriously? Does that really work?”
“Yes.” He then explained to me, while scientific evidence shows that human brains benefit from meditation sessions longer than 40 minutes, it is almost impossible to ask a 5-year-old to sit and meditate for that long. A two minute session is appropriate for a 5-year-old, and “even a short session like that helps relief stress and calm kids down.” (more…)
My daughter was sick last night. All over the futon, all over herself. It was certainly not something that I wanted to deal with in the middle of the night–especially knowing that there was no spare futon, and that I would end up sleeping on the hard floor.
I started off by giving her a shower, washing her hair, changing her pajamas. I’m at expert at this, after all. Due to a bout of RSV when she was three months old, my daughter has asthma. Her airways over react to any stimuli.
Coughing to the point of being sick used to happen daily, but it’s been over a year since the last episode. My daughter had forgotten about it, forgotten the routine. I had not. As I washed her up, she complained about how hard I was scrubbing, how these pajamas were too big, how the pillow was too hard.
When she was smaller, she used to only cry when I washed her.
It struck me how grown up she has become.
Recently, she was named group leader for her four-person group at school. (In Japan, it is very common for teachers to assign groups. They work together to distribute lunch and to clean up, as well as class work.) She takes this responsibility very seriously. Actually, a bit too seriously! She is stressed out about it. I can see how she is maturing and learning about what it means to be in change of others.
There are some things you can control, other things you cannot.
Later, after she was cleaned and changed, we both cuddled onto a futon meant for one. She rested her head in the crook of my arm and went to sleep, snoring softly. Such a big girl. Still such a little girl. So unaware of the joys and the trials that are awaiting her.
I rested my head on hers, encircling her in my longer, stronger, more experienced arms. While I still can, while she’ll still let me.
Please share moments when you feel how much your children have grown.
This is an original post by the author to World Moms Blog.
If you ask Melanie Oda where she is from, she will answer "Georgia." (Unless you ask her in Japanese. Then she will say "America.") It sounds nice, and it's a one-word answer, which is what most people expect. The truth is more complex. She moved around several small towns in the south growing up. Such is life when your father is a Southern Baptist preacher of the hellfire and brimstone variety.
She came to Japan in 2000 as an assistant language teacher, and has never managed to leave. She currently resides in Yokohama, on the outskirts of Tokyo (but please don't tell anyone she described it that way! Citizens of Yokohama have a lot of pride). No one is more surprised to find her here, married to a Japanese man and with two bilingual children (aged four and seven), than herself. And possibly her mother.
You can read more about her misadventures in Asia on her blog, HamakkoMommy.
On Saturday night, I had the privilege of hosting three of my 13 year-old son’s friends for a sleep-over. They are lovely boys, and all I have to do is feed them and ignore them. I don’t mention things like showers or teeth-brushing, and in return they pretty much keep to themselves and don’t expect me to converse about Minecraft, Clash of Clans or Team Fortress II.
I teased them a little about not letting girls in while I drove my 9 year-old to a birthday party. I didn’t make a big deal of things when one of them smuggled in cola. I laughed with them, when on my return from the party drop-off, they were trying to stuff MacDonalds packaging into my kitchen rubbish bin. They pushed their limits with bedtime, of course. And they declined the offer of mattresses to sleep on (too much work for them to get them into our lounge) and slept on the carpet…. because, they’re 13 and their bodies still bend in ways mine don’t.
It was both innocent and, I felt, an appropriate mix of mischief and compliance.
Then, on Sunday, I heard of other 13 year-olds who had been in online chat rooms, talking about anal-sex and rape. Not in general terms, but in…. I shall be doing this to you terms…. These are kids who come from great homes and who have very loving families. I immediately thought: there but the Grace of God go I.
Children easily get caught up with what their friends are doing, or those who they emulate. My 13 year-old could have easily been one of those involved and I have no doubt all three of my boys will make stupid mistakes as they move from childhood to adulthood. Just not this time. Thank goodness.
The biggest worry, for me, was that there was at least one unidentified person in the chat-group who could, quite literally, have been anyone. It’s probably another 13 year-old, a friend or acquaintance but it could just as easily be a predator who was scoping for a target. And that makes it all the more scary.
The same is true of a local man who is hanging around liquor stores offering to buy alcohol and cigarettes for underage kids, 14 and 15 year-olds. He does this for a while. Then he offers drugs. Then it’s parties at his house. This is a whole different scenario from the stranger-danger I taught my boys when they were small.
We’re talking about people who are consciously befriending those kids who want to seem older than they are, and who are ready to break rules. They are grooming relationships before they pounce. They are feeding the teenage need to belong and the teenage need to experiment and do things that their parents may not approve of.
So we hit the teenage years, and now I find parenting is not so black and white.
No, I don’t want my kids drinking alcohol or smoking but do I buy them a few beers to take to a party, so that creeps don’t target them and they go behind my back? No, I don’t want my kids smoking pot but if they choose to, should I allow it when they know who grew it, rather than have them turn to those who lace it with P?
No, I don’t want my kids to be suggesting they will rape someone or perform anal sex on them, but I also don’t want them to be excluded from other things their peers are doing.
Suddenly, a conversation about Minecraft seems pretty appealing afterall.
What do you do or have you done to deal with these aspects of parenting?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer and mother of three, rapidly growing boys in New Zealand, Karyn Willis.
The image used in this post is attributed to JD Hancock and holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
(You have probably scrolled up and down to see if you’re at the right place. Yes you are. Continue to read.)
Short term goals are goals that you want to achieve instantaneously. There is immediate result and you benefit directly.
Long term goals are goals that you want to achieve in the future.
It will take you a while to achieve these goals and you have to be patient and persistent to achieve your goal.
Bear with me now…This is going to make sense, I promise.
Example. You are hungry.
Short term goal: I want to eat something.
Long term goal: I want to maintain my gorgeous figure. (ahem…Just go with me on this one…)
If you focus on your short term goal, anything will do: a snickers bar, ice cream, donuts, anything.
But if you bring in the long term goal, you will need to think about how you are going to achieve your long term goal, while keeping in mind your short term goal.
In other words:
how am I going to still my hunger without ruining my fantastic figure.
Got it? Simple, right?
So, why am I talking about goals?
Because they relate to parenting.
Parenting is a job where you constantly have to remember that it is about the long term goals.
But the present is so in our face, that sometimes we forget and go with the short term goals and eventually pay the price.
Example: You’re in the supermarket with your child.
Your child is tired cranky, difficult.
But you have to do this.
We all know that this is a scenario for a possible disaster.
And we all know how easy it is, to give the child some candy or a cookie and get the job done.
(I’ve done it, you’ve done it, I’m guessing we all have.)
But what is the long term goal here?
You want to be able to do your groceries in peace and quiet.
And possibly have a great time doing it, maybe even some skipping and singing.
Too far fetched? Okay, let’s back up..
How do you achieve that long term goal?
By NOT giving the candy.
By planning and repeating rules, by making sure your child is fed and well rested,
whenever you enter the supermarket.
By praising your child for good behavior,
by making sure you build up the amount of time you spend at the supermarket.
How do you achieve that long term goal?
This is what I do all day, it is hard.
It requires an enormous amount of energy.
Sometimes I have to be patient, because I am somewhere in between the process of achieving my long term goal
and I just cannot see the end of it. Sometimes I’m tempted to go for the short term goal.
You want me to give your ten teddy bears, little blankets and little beds for the night?
And you want me to make sure they are all in the right bed with the right blanket,
and you change your mind about it every second? Sure kid. If I get to crash on the couch and you finally go to sleep after that.
Sure, I’ll do it.
But then I ask myself this question:
Do I really want to spend my evenings running around, taking care of dolls and teddy bears
and every other stuff that you seem to come up with just around bedtime?
Or do I want bedtime to be quiet and peaceful and efficient.
And I realize, that I want the latter.
So I take a deep breath, and choose the battle.
On my last nerves, desperate to choose the couch instead.
I explain to my hysterical screaming child that it is bedtime, not playing time.
She will lie down now and Mommy will go downstairs.
She screams, she cries, she stomps her feet. I go up and down the stairs four or five times.
She won’t calm down. I cuddle, but I don’t give in.
Finally she goes to sleep.
I throw myself on the couch, tired, discouraged.
“Mommy I want the big bear and the little bear and my giraffe, and…”
“You can pick two stuffed animals and then you will go to sleep. It’s sleepy time, not playtime.”
She screams. I kiss and cuddle her and walk away.
Before I reach the couch it is quiet. Really quiet.
I sneak upstairs to see what she’s doing.
She’s fast asleep with three stuffed animals..
I am well on my way to reaching my long term goal.
Does any of this sound familiar? What are your long term (parenting) goals?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer in The Netherlands, Mirjam.
The picture used in this post is credited to the author.
Mirjam was born in warm, sunny Surinam, but raised in the cold, rainy Netherlands.
She´s the mom of three rambunctious beauties and has been married for over two decades to the love of her life.
Every day she´s challenged by combining the best and worst of two cultures at home.
She used to be an elementary school teacher but is now a stay at home Mom. In her free time she loves to pick up her photo camera.
Mirjam has had a life long battle with depression and is not afraid to talk about it.
She enjoys being a blogger, an amateur photographer, and loves being creative in many ways.
But most of all she loves live and laughter, even though sometimes she is the joke herself.
You can find Mirjam (sporadically) at her blog Apples and Roses where she blogs about her battle with depression and finding beauty in the simplest of things. You can also find Mirjam on Twitter and Instagram.
Last year, on a whim, I decided to join the NYC chapter of Moms in Training. I came across it at a time when I was looking for somewhere to volunteer. This was a no-brainer…. get some exercise, meet new moms, help cancer patients and be a good role model for my children. Perfect!
This was before Moms in Training went national with 30 cities across the US and Canada. This was before there was a Moms in Training Leadership Committee, which is made up 100% of moms who thought so much about the program that they decided to volunteer whatever spare time they had to this great organization. This was before I met Lucy, Alex’s mom who writes about her journey on Alex Fights Leukemia.
Alex was 15 months when she was diagnosed with leukemia and has been such a brave little girl. She hasn’t known life in any other way than in and out of hospitals. Alex has become our local heroine, and my first race was dedicated to her recovery. She still has a way to go, but last time I saw Lucy she gave me the great news that Alex has the green light to start attending mommy and me classes, and interacting with other children.
Imagine not being able to take your child to the supermarket, or a playground for fear of germs. Imagine sitting by your baby’s bedside in the hospital for days and weeks at a time, over and over again. Imagine holding your baby in your arms while she receives anesthesia, and walking your sleeping infant into the operating room for yet another surgery. No mother should ever have to go through this.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) was one of the first organizations to invest in Dr. Carl June’s research when everyone else deemed his research to be too risky and unconventional. Treating leukemia patients with a strand of HIV virus? The results are astonishing. LLS has invested $30 million in Dr. June’s research since 1990 and continues to invest in cut-throat ground breaking research like his (I highly recommend you watch this video to find out what he’s done – it’s amazing!).
The survival rate for childhood leukemia in 1949, was zero, while today it is 90 percent. To date, Moms in Training have raised over $500,000, 95% of which goes straight to the cause, either towards helping patients or medical research. Most of LLS’s medical findings are tested and eventually rolled out to fight other types of cancers as well. I have been so overly impressed by the organization, I can’t even put it into words.
Now I am about to embark onto my third season with Moms in Training. I have met new neighbors, made friends, and lost some of my baby weight (I still have a bit to go – but it’s getting better every day :)!) I ran 2 races already, which I never would have thought possible a year ago. I have joined the leadership committee and am trying to recruit new moms to join our growing little family, because no mother should watch her child suffer.
Would you like to learn more about LLS? Are you interested in finding out if there is a Moms In Training team in your area, or maybe even starting your own team? Do you live in NYC and would you like to join our team? Go to or you can ask me directly in the comments! Would you like to support me in my next race (coming up in June)?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Maman Aya.
Maman Aya is a full-time working mother of 2 beautiful children, a son who is 6 and a daughter who is two. She is raising her children in the high-pressure city of New York within a bilingual and multi-religious home.
Aya was born in Canada to a French mother who then swiftly whisked her away to NYC, where she grew up and spent most of her life. She was raised following Jewish traditions and married an Irish Catholic American who doesn’t speak any other language (which did not go over too well with her mother), but who is learning French through his children. Aya enjoys her job but feels “mommy guilt” while at work. She is lucky to have the flexibility to work from home on Thursdays and recently decided to change her schedule to have “mommy Fridays”, but still feels torn about her time away from her babies. Maman Aya is not a writer by any stretch of the imagination, but has been drawn in by the mothers who write for World Moms Blog. She looks forward to joining the team and trying her hand at writing!