Tag Archives: family traditions

In praise of the afternoon nap

Hi gorgeous!

How are you doing? If you are reading this and it also Autumn for you, I hope that you are managing to slow down. When I wrote about Ayurveda’s take on Autumn in this post, I mentioned how Vata time (the quality that is most prominent in this season) makes us a bit heady and spacey. This is because the qualities of air and space are prevalent, so we naturally amplify those qualities within ourselves.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is how different times of the day are also more prominent. These are rough guides and they can vary based on the time of year and your latitude, but, generally, Vata is most active between the hours of two and six. This is applicable in the afternoon and in the evening.

Do you ever wake at two in the morning? Ha, ha, that is Vata time! Meditation is recommended before six a.m. because Vata is the most “airy” time of the day, so we are very receptive.

But, this is a post about afternoon naps, I digress.

Basically, if you have Vata in your constitution, a Vata imbalance or it is Vata season (windy, cold, dry) outside, you need to take extra precautions at Vata time to stay balanced.

Vata needs warmth, grounding, sweetness and routine.

An afternoon nap (20 minutes or so) is a perfect way to ground Vata, since it slows down the movement that is inherent in Vata. If we don’t consciously slow down at this time of the day, we can get a bit frazzled and feel really worn out by the end of the day. Do this for a couple of years and you start waking at 2 a.m. (I know because I have done it!)

When I first started working on balancing my constitution (My Vata was out of balance), I would nap every day if I could. On the days that I couldn’t, I made a point of sitting and having a cup of tea.

Now that I feel much more grounded, I still have a nap if I feel like it.

Or else, I make myself a cup of chai with a cookie (remember I said Vata needs sweet – I have just given you permission to have some cake in the afternoon!). I also read or watch something inspiring, sit outside, or just lie in bed. I do this between two and three p.m. before I pick up my children from school. When they come home, we have some more afternoon tea, all together. (You can’t have too much afternoon tea, I say!)

My husband has a job in the city and does not have the luxury of lying down for an afternoon nap, so I have encouraged him to go for afternoon tea with his colleagues and to eat something sweet (fruit is really good to have at this time) between the hours of two and six. He says that it really makes a difference to his day and he also doesn’t come home ravenous.

I hope that is helpful to you. Give it a try and let me know if it makes a difference to your day.

Blessings to you.

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Five ways to obtain balanced travels

IMG_6880I have got travel on my mind these days. A year and a half ago, I went to Bali. On my own. It was a really hard thing to do at the time. I had never been away from my children for a single night. I had a dream to go to Bali and it was just not possible, financially, for the whole family to go. So, Sohail told me to go on my own. Yes, I have an amazing husband, I know!

I didn’t know what to do, I had a yearning to do something so special for me and at the same time, I was being pulled to be with my children. In the end, Bali won. And I am so glad that it did. It ended up being an amazing trip for me in that I gained my confidence back. You see, when you are in a partnership, you inevitably hand your power over to your partner. Sohail is always the one to deal with the taxi driver, the money, the passports. You know, the boy stuff! I had to do it all and I remembered that I still could. It feels nice to be reminded that I can do everything for myself and at the same time be so happy that I have a partner who can do it so that I can do the things I want to do, and not the things I have to do. It was great for Sohail and the children too. It gave him his confidence in knowing that he is perfectly capable of looking after the children and they had a wonderful time bonding with their dad.

It also prepared all of us for the trips I am now taking when I am doing my teacher training. I can really recommend taking some time away from your family. It really helps to centre you and it reminds everyone how important the family unit is. Mothers need time to find themselves again.

We are now getting ready for another trip. The whole family is going to South Africa in December. We have not been back home in over five years and I am nearly jumping out of my skin with excitement. My brother is getting married, my dad is turning 65, Annie is turning 8, it is Christmas… Need I say more??

Imagine my delight, when Kendra Thornton contacted me and offered to write a guest post about staying balanced when we travel. Please welcome her (isn’t she beautiful?) and the lovely tips she has to offer us when we are travelling.

A little bit about Kendra:


Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing bags and travelling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal travelling tips. Enjoy!

  1. When it comes to hotels, places like Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants locations offers their customers a free yoga mat in every room, making it easy to rest and relax after a hard day. You’ll also find a number of free programs on the television that help you unwind and find your inner peace. The chain has locations in New York City, Miami and other great cities across the country. If I am doing travels with my kids but also still trying to keep my workout in check, I like spicing it up and trying new things! I used Gogobot to pick a fabulous list of Orlando hotels that had family-friendly accomodations to keep everyone happy, yet looked for locations close to a SUP Yoga class. Morning yoga practice on surfboards…sign me up! Just remember, you don’t have to stay at a hotel that offers yoga – make it an adventure and get out into the city and sign up for a class. Keep in mind too that despite language barriers, yoga is spoken in the same body language around the world. So if you are travelling to Europe – don’t be discouraged just simply give it a shot!
  2. Don’t forget to stay hydrated, especially when flying. Flying dries out your skin and leaves you feeling uncomfortable and maybe even a little sick. If you want avoid the sleeping problems and headaches that you face after a long flight, drink extra water and stay away from alcohol.
  3. I always start every day off with a sun salutation. It gets me in the right frame of mind to hit the local attractions and keep a smile on my face throughout the day. A few simple stretches can release tension and make you feel better about your trip. If you travel with friends, get them involved in the process before you sit down to coffee!
  4. Flights are always a pain because you never know what to expect. While one flight might feel calming and relaxing, another flight might encounter some harsh weather or turbulence. Whenever I face problems on a flight, I take the time to listen to relaxing music on my iPod and practice breathing exercises. Once you take a few deep breaths, you’ll feel better too.
  5. Stop worrying when you fly to a destination in a different time zone! Far too many people hit the hotel for a nap and feel groggy for the first few days of their trip. Instead of napping, hit the streets. With the sun on your shoulders and a new culture in front of your eyes, the last thing on your mind will be the time change.

With these tips, you’ll have a better trip with your family and friends. You can stay healthy, explore a new culture and feel less stressed about your trip.

Thank you for sharing your tips, Kendra! You can find Kendra on Twitter and on her website.

Do you like travelling? How do you keep the peace when you are out of your routine? Do you have any more advice when it comes to travelling with children?

I would love to hear from you.

Blessings to you.

Would you like to subscribe to the Peaceful Mothering newsletter? Join the Peaceful Mothering tribe and get Olga’s updates. Click here.

Xavier turns four. And some birthday traditions.

Xavier has turned four. He is the most delightful little boy. Sweet, funny and full of laughs.

I thought I would share a few photos and some of our family traditions when it comes to birthdays.

We always tell a special birthday story the night before. We tell a Steiner inspired story about a bird coming out of an egg, running down a hill and greeting his new family. I love The Birthday Book – celebrations for everyone, by Druitt, Fynes-Clinton and Rowling for lovely Steiner inspired ideas. I tell our birthday story from there and gather some other inspiration from there too.

In the morning, the children find that there are ribbons hanging form their door. This year, Xavier had four ribbons hanging. He also got to jump out of bed four times and had four kisses when waking up.


We have a birthday table set up. I made a birthday bunting a few years ago. This always goes up, for every member of the family. We put a special birthday crown on the person. What is funny about the crown, is that it is really scratchy, so the birthday person only manages to wear it for a photo and then takes it off!

My children go to a Montessori school, which has it’s own traditions too.

A birthday candle is lit and the child holds a globe. As the class sings, the child walks around the candle, holding the globe. The candle represents the sun. The child walks around the sun just once and then the family shares a photo (or photos) of the child in that year of their life.


So, Xavier got to travel around the sun four times! He was too scared to go by himself, I had to go with him. I found this really poetic, as he is still so very attached to me. He still climbs into my bed at night and always wants me to feed him, dress him and read him stories. His dad is just not good enough for that, yet!

Our family also bakes and decorates a cake. This year, I baked a cake and Annie and Xavier decorated it. It was a beautiful mess and I loved it!


And to top off our traditions, we always do a family photo with the cake. I got this tradition from my mother in law. I always see photos of Sohail as a boy, in front of the birthday cake with the whole family. I think it is a lovely way to mark the occasion and to see everyone growing over the years.


We also cut the cake with the knife that Sohail and I used for our wedding. The first bite always goes to the birthday child (or adult).

And there you have it, our birthday traditions. I love the familiarity in them and how it reduces stress, since everyone knows what to expect each year. It also saves a lot of money. We don’t feel that there is a need to have expensive, themed cakes and decorations. Our family being together is the most important to us.

Do you have any family traditions? I would love to hear them.

Blessings to you.

By the way, I just found this beautiful, 2 minute video, peeking inside a Montessori classroom. Have a look, I guarantee you will be inspired.