“Movement follows breath.” A classic yoga teacher statement. But does it express what is happening on the yoga mat for most of us? What part does the mind play in this setup? Does it simply withdraw and watch the intuitive breath lead the body’s movement? Or does it constantly try to control the breath and command the body?
If we were to bravely draw a comparison between the yogic observation above and a family’s dynamics, our family unit would be the moving body, our kids the intuitive breath and we, their parents, the ever so rational and controlling mind… Do I simply sit back and watch the kids define our family’s rhythm? Or do I relentlessly tell them what to do to try and make our household run ‘smoothly’?
Apparently I have occasionally been subscribing to the philosophy of Servant Leadership. Little did I know that there is, in fact, an official title for my attempt at leading the kids by following them. Unfortunately, most parents these days have a negative reaction to being called their kids’ servant. So how about, in this context, we call it Humble Leadership?
A humble leader is someone who aims to empower their followers. It is amazing how well a humble approach is received by our children. When they feel empowered to lead the way, they will also happily follow. When they feel empowered to express their opinions, they will also respect ours. When they feel empowered to try something new, they will learn from the mistakes they may experience.
Scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the strong correlation between our breath’s rhythm and our mental well-being. So if we were to expand on our analogy, it would make sense to learn to follow our kids’ rhythm a little more often and let intuition lead reasoning.
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