In December my family and I rented a beachfront cottage on Soliman Bay, Mexico.
My 20-month-old son, who is a lover of all things water – ocean, rivers, lakes and more – surprised us.
He refused to go into the water.
Another adult who was with us, someone who knows our kids well, suggested we just push through.
Her logic was that there is nothing unsafe here. Nothing he hasn’t experienced before, he just needs to get over the hump.
I understood her reasoning, and, it also didn’t make sense to push him.
Being afraid is being afraid. Simple as that.
Sure, his experience wasn’t making sense to me, but that didn’t make his fear “not real”.
It didn’t need to tick all my boxes of logic for it to be acknowledged.
And so I told him that we didn’t have to go into the water.
Instead, we sat at the edge of the beach where I could tell he felt safe. We watched the waves roll in and out.
We played in the sand, getting it into every one of his crevices. We had fun.
This went on for a day and a half after each meal and naptime. We‘d walk the 20 meters (60 feet) from the cottage to the beach, and find a place where he felt safe.
I didn’t push him to go further, yet each time he did choose to venture closer to the lapping waves.
Then he started to point to the water. So I put him in my arms and walked toward the waves … water lapping at my feet, then ankles, then knees. He looked at me and gave me the baby sign language for “more“.
On we went. I could feel him hold his breath a little and then exhale as well as signed “more“. Then he giggled. He looked at me with a big smile and signed “more”: I was up to my rib cage and with him on my waist, the water was lapping his shoulders.
We were now playing in the water. Giggling.
The next day we walked (he toddled) to the beach, and stood right in the path of a wave which lapped up at his short legs. It knocked him off balance and he laughed. He got up for more.
As the days progressed so did his confidence. I was a pretty proud mama.
What does this have to do yoga therapy?
Fear is real. I have seen it countless times in my practice and in my training programs.
People afraid to move. People afraid to get stronger. People afraid to relax. People afraid to feel.
When I see this, I don’t try to reason, or manipulate. I don’t quote the latest research. I don’t talk about the mind.
Instead I offer them something easier to do. Something that will have them feeling safe, and supported.
Because when someone feels safe and supported, change happens and results grow. As their results grow, so does their confidence. Success naturally leads to more success, leading to ongoing progress.
What’s cool, is the results happen quicker than either of us could have imagined. It really is that simple. (My grads would agree).
Cheers to feeling safe and supported.
Have fun exploring,
Note: Susi is coming to Janati Yoga School from March 1stto March 6th, 2019 to offer her Yoga Therapy Intensive Training. The early bird pricing for this event ends on January 31st. If you’re interested in working with Susi (and she’s awesome… Mona says so!), then head over to our workshops and check it out. You can also find out more about Susi from her website.