The Beginning Of A Long Journey

Today’s blog is written by our incredible yoga instructor, Amanda Brown.

I delivered a healthy baby girl on October 15, 2011. Little did I realize how many ways it would change my life. Not only in the normal ways that motherhood does, but it also brought me closer to knowing my own self through what is now a passion for yoga. My yoga experience started in my teen years, but was just a passing fancy. Studies and meeting my future husband took precedence for quite some time, but I dabbled here and there. When I found out I was pregnant, life got upended as every parent comes to know. A friend suggested prenatal yoga and that is where my real journey began.

I joined a yoga studio when I was ready to re-enter the fitness world. This particular yoga studio had a spa-like feel to it and that alone had me hooked. I started with beginner classes, which naturally were packed, and I would always choose a mat in the back row hoping no one would see me (little did I know then the teacher can see the entire class and it doesn’t matter where you sit). I would attend the same two or three teachers’ classes. Their classes always had the perfect combination of breath work, a nice flow that was challenging, fun music, and most importantly, I always left feeling really positive about myself and couldn’t wait to step back on my mat. At the time I was dealing with some body image issues, but yoga seemed to be healing those issues not only on the outside, but on the inside as well.

I gradually started going to the more difficult classes. As my practice began to advance and my mindfulness became more aware, I started to think about becoming a yoga instructor. Yoga had really begun to make an impact on my life. I was becoming more mindful of pretty much everything: my relationships, how I treated those around me, what I was eating, the environment and letting little things go. All of these things had become so much easier since yoga had been in my life. I wanted to teach yoga to make an impact on people’s lives the way it was improving mine. I signed up for a 200-hour, 3-day intensive teacher training in August 2012.

Every day for 30 days from 8 am-6 pm we were at the studio learning everything yoga: history, philosophy, literature, proper alignment, adjustments for postures, meditation techniques, practicing teaching and so on. Normally a teacher training is done over the span of 3-6 months and is done on the weekends. We were in full yoga boot camp. At times teacher training was exhausting — my body ached, my mind would spin from information overload — but I was loving every minute. I learned from the co-teacher, whom I’ve continued studying with to this day, how strong our mind is and how are bodies can do anything, but without our minds, our body is nothing. This lesson was so valuable to me throughout our training. When my body felt like it couldn’t do one more chaturanga or one more downward dog, it was my mind that kept pushing me through the tough moments. Thirty days later we were handed our shiny certificates and I was determined to teach!

I am very blessed to be where I am today in my teaching career. I now have over 600 hours of training in Vinyassa, Ashtanga, Hatha and both Pre- and Post-Natal techniques! And I’m now a teacher in that very same spa-like studio where I was once a very timid member.

My most recent training took place in the motherland of Yoga: India. What an amazing experience it was. More on my India trip in my next blog….

To find out more about Amanda’s services and the classes she teaches, contact us through the website by clicking here.

Is Your Nanny Mentally Fit For The Job – How To Spot Potentially Dangerous Problems

Beautiful young woman and her adorable little son having a picnic in sunny park

When it comes to hiring a nanny, many parents think checking references, doing a background check, and making sure the person has plenty of experience is all that they need to do in order to make sure the person is fit to watch their children.

BUT what many people, including myself 12 years ago, don’t understand is, THE MOST important thing to evaluate is your nanny’s state of mental health and her ability to make good judgment calls when necessary.

After working as a nanny myself, hiring several nannies for my three girls and working with clients as a therapist, nanny consultant, and nanny spy, I can honestly say investing in a mental health assessment for your nanny is the single most important thing that you need to do before you hire.

I recently started working with two families who had traumatic experiences with their nannies. The first set of parents came home early from dinner to find their nanny standing by the window smoking pot. She had been working with the family for three months, she had come highly recommended by a top agency and she had excellent references. The parents were shocked and felt betrayed.

Over the course of my meeting with them, they kept telling me how “perfect” she had seemed prior to this incident. However, then they told me that she was stressed financially and had asked for money in advance. I have a list of red flags that all parents should watch for when working with nannies. And being financially stressed and asking for money in advance is definitely one of them.

The second family had an incident with their nanny and they ended up with their child in the hospital. The dad came home one day, greeted the nanny and almost immediately noticed something seemed off with his 10-month-old daughter. He asked the nanny if anything had happened and she said no. His wife came home and she immediately noticed something was not right with their daughter.

The baby was fussy and kept touching her ear. She ended up throwing up. They called a family friend who is a pediatrician and at first thought maybe it was just a virus, but eventually they ended up taking her to the ER. They called the nanny again just to see if maybe she remembered her falling or something, and she denied anything happened. It turned out, their daughter had suffered a concussion and ended up having to stay at the hospital for four days. When the nanny came to the hospital to visit, they again asked her, saying they wouldn’t be mad but needed to get to the bottom of the story. The nanny finally broke down crying and admitted she had fallen.

This nanny had been a referral of another mom, who sang her praises and recommended her highly. And she also had other excellent references. When other moms hear these stories, it clearly alarms them. But stories like these can be avoidable.

Nanny Mental Health Assessments can help identify mental health issues like depression and anxiety that can lead to potentially dangerous situations for your children. Experienced therapists and/or social workers know how to expertly phrase their questions in order to evaluate emotional capacity in a nanny. The assessments are designed to help determine other cognitive abilities, strengths/weaknesses and other traits that will help you find a good match for your family.

A Mental Health Assessment should take about 1 hour and should be done by a licensed mental health professional (a psychologist, licensed social worker or mental health counselor). It should cost less than $500. When you are about to spend $35,000 a year (or more) for your Nanny, this is a small price to pay to know that you’ve done everything you can to put your children in the right hands.

We all want the best for our children and there are no guarantees, but this is another tool you can use to know you did all you can to get the best help for your family. Good luck!