Yoga Made Us Better Parents - Yulady and Gerald Saluti

We are the proud parents of six wonderful children. Both of us had children from a previous marriage, and we had two children together. Yours, mine and ours as we like to say. As you might imagine, we have faced a number of parenting obstacles in raising our blended little family.

We have been happily married for the past 14 years. Unfortunately for our kids, we have only been practicing yoga for the past 10 years. Looking back, we truly don’t know how we did it for those first 4 years. We parented the way our parents’ taught us, drawing much of our parenting style from generations of experiences. However, there was significant room for improvement. We just didn’t know it yet.

We attended our first yoga class together. When the class was finished we looked at each other and knew we had found something important. There was an undeniable sense of serenity that washed over us. We couldn’t stop smiling. Needless to say we were hooked.
Yoga became an integral part of our lives. We practiced regularly and soon the progress we were making on our mats translated into progress off our mats. One of the first places we noticed this change was in our children’s behavior. We included asana, meditation and pranayama in our daily lives and the result was that we felt more connected to each other and the kids. The children quickly recognized the difference in our respective demeanors and would often quip “Mom (or Dad) you need to go to yoga” in the event one of us looked stressed out or lost our temper.

Before we practiced yoga everyday we enjoyed many forms of exercise such as rock climbing, weightlifting, cardio, etc. However, while we were physically strong and in “good shape” mentally we still struggled. We employed very traditional parenting methods (time-outs, grounding, taking away privileges, etc.) and thought we were doing a good job of preparing our children for the world. Both of us carried a tremendous amount of stress. We felt like the world owed us something and we generally thought of our own needs before thinking about the needs of others, sometimes even those of our children. Although we didn’t realize it, we were passing this stress along to our children.

We attended our first yoga class together. When the class was finished we looked at each other and knew we had found something important. There was an undeniable sense of serenity that washed over us. We couldn’t stop smiling. Needless to say we were hooked.
Yoga became an integral part of our lives. We practiced regularly and soon the progress we were making on our mats translated into progress off our mats. One of the first places we noticed this change was in our children’s behavior. We included asana, meditation and pranayama in our daily lives and the result was that we felt more connected to each other and the kids. The children quickly recognized the difference in our respective demeanors and would often quip “Mom (or Dad) you need to go to yoga” in the event one of us looked stressed out or lost our temper.

Before we practiced yoga everyday we enjoyed many forms of exercise such as rock climbing, weightlifting, cardio, etc. However, while we were physically strong and in “good shape” mentally we still struggled. We employed very traditional parenting methods (time-outs, grounding, taking away privileges, etc.) and thought we were doing a good job of preparing our children for the world. Both of us carried a tremendous amount of stress. We felt like the world owed us something and we generally thought of our own needs before thinking about the needs of others, sometimes even those of our children. Although we didn’t realize it, we were passing this stress along to our children.

Enter yoga. The light switch didn’t go on immediately. We simply exercised through what we thought was yoga, namely asana practice. It felt marvelous every time we left a class. Our obsession with other exercise fell off sharply. The draw of yoga was so powerful, and we were so new and naïve, that we had no clue why we felt like we did. As our interest and knowledge grew and we soon learned that yoga had a much broader definition than poses and was instead a lifestyle, encompassing everything from diet to meditation and even breathing. Our lives changed, and our attitudes toward everything changed. Our parenting style radically changed. When there was fighting between the kids, we would attack the issue from a totally different place, a place of deep love, understanding and kindness. Instead of time-outs and punishments, we would sit them down and do breathing exercises and meditation techniques.

As if by magic, the children changed before our eyes. The breathing and meditation we used with them really was an attractive solution that the kids actually enjoyed. They became more and more curious about meditation, asana, and breathing exercises. Our home became a quiet place, which with 6 kids is miraculous. By infusing our yoga practice into our parenting, we had found a way to help our children deal with life on a more authentic and original level.

Yoga works. It made us better parents. We believe it’s our job as parents to give our children the tools to handle life. We freely give to them what was given to us. Raising little yogis is not easy, but it’s a heck of a lot easier than raising little non-yogis!

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Yulady Saluti inspires people through her strength and courage. After battling and overcoming a serious colon rectal medical condition, Yulady dove head first into a new, healthy life filled with yoga and studies in Ayurveda. Ever graceful and full of life, Yulady continues to inspire with her indomitable will to heal herself and teach her students how to persevere through any situation

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Gerald Saluti is a student of the movement of the human body. With a background steeped in athletics, Gerald molded his passion for movement and his study of anatomy into a dedicated yoga practice. Gerald is known for his classes that focus on linking breath to movement with a heavy emphasis on core engagement and the interplay between the recruitment of different muscle groups.

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