Self-Defense Skills in the Family Environment
When I say “self-defense” do you imagine that you should train your 18-month-old to be the next Bruce Lee? Holistic self-defense means more than physically fighting back. The core mental, verbal and relationship skills can be taught in developmentally appropriate ways throughout your child’s life, starting at a very young age.
We teach our kids lots of skills before they are really expected to use them. My daughter “brushed her teeth” for many years before we entrusted her with her own dental care. Self-defense is the same. We don’t expect our littlest ones to keep themselves safe; that’s a job for grown-ups. But we can embed violence-prevention behaviors into our family cultures in the same way we cultivate health-promoting (“eat your broccoli”), pro-social (“say ‘thank you’”) or ethical (“tell the truth”) conduct.
Dianne Bondy is a champion of yoga for everybody and every body.
The owner and chief operator of Eastside Yoga Studio in Windsor Ontario and host and teacher of various online yoga classes, Dianne believes that yoga is accessible for all of us. As a full-figured African-Canadian woman, Dianne wants to bring yoga to people who think yoga is only for young, skinny, straight white girls. She also wants to change society’s perception of what a yogi looks like and make yoga a more inclusive practice and culture for all of us.
Adventures in Alternative Parenting
“Picture time,” Michael said. The five of us had just tumbled out of the car after a few hours in traffic on our way from Boston to Provincetown, the famously gay tip of Cape Cod.
We stood in line outside of a French bistro, waiting to order lunch. I smiled when he pointed his phone at me and took a picture. He took separate pictures of all of us then said, “I’ll make a collage of the five of us for a family photo.” Jerel laughed and said, “make one like the Brady Bunch.” Michael used one of his iPhone apps to create a Brady Bunch-esque collage of all our faces, Li in the middle surrounded by her four parents.
Technique is Everything
Now’s a good time to explore the big three: three elements of Ashtanga yoga that are most important, more potent than the opening invocation or any of the poses—easily attainable or bat-shit impossible—in the Primary Series. In Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy, Gregor Maehle describes them as “the string that holds the beads [of poses] together to great a garland of yoga postures… For the beginner it is essential to learn these three fundamental techniques at the outset. Once they are mastered, the practice will happen almost effortlessly.”
So what are they, these three keys to the kingdom? The big three are the breath, the drishti, and the bandhas.
Making Marriage Simple by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD
As a girl, I watched my parents fight and feared their divorce. I was often scared that their fights, silence, and unhappiness would lead to a fractured family. For better or worse, I’ve carried some of that fear into my own marriage. I enjoyed reading Making Marriage Simple. It’s a slim volume, a charming, self-effacing and utterly sincere book with tips and exercises to help couples communicate, handle conflict, and enjoy their relationships.
Making Marriage Simple is written by the couple who penned the famous Getting the Love You Want. Readers familiar with that book will recognize some of the principles and exercises in this book. I appreciated that this text wasn’t couched in a religious context. Hendrix has experience as a Baptist preacher, so I prepared for language like “wives, submit to your husbands; husbands, love your wives” and the “complementarian skill sets” which were a troubling part of my religious education.