How to Help your Kids Sync Up their Bodies and Minds, with Chelsey Korus

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Heading into a new decade, yoga teacher and philosopher Chelsey Korus explains how the principles of yoga can be woven into our everyday lives and in the way we parent our kids. “When I look back on my life, the mantra that really freed me up was: now it’s like this. Now it’s like this. And it basically highlights the impermanence of being human. You’re going to get a new moment. That’s the deal with human beings. We’re always changing. We’re always evolving. And, you know, for kids, everything is changing.”
Show Notes
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Good Kids: How to Help your Kids Sync Up their Bodies and Minds, with Chelsey Korus transcript


[00:46] Hey, guys. I’m Chelsey Korus and I’m here with Good Kids: How Not to Raise an Asshole. 


[00:53] OK, so I do have this story about my nephew — and my sister is not going to like that I’m sharing this, but it’s so great. So we’re all, you know, we have a humongus family. And it’s Christmas time, and we’re going around, and they’re really trying something new this year, like normally all the nieces and nephews, all the grandkids open up their present at the same time. And it’s just like pandemonium, right? This is chaos. And nobody really gets to see — and everybody, like the parents put so much work into these, like, gifts. This one, my nephew was like, I don’t know, he might be seven at this time. He’s a young kid. And he opens up this gift. And Cami, my other sister, is like the gift giver. And she’s so, just so sweet. And she put so much thought into it. And we pick names and she had his name. And so, you know, Cami is like watching on and he opens up the gift and he’s like, ‘this is going straight into the garbage.’


[01:50] The whole room just burst out laughing. 


[01:54] And, you know, Alicia is, like, all the blood drains from her face, you know, she is mortified. And she takes her son and she looks at Cami just like, ‘I’m so sorry, but this is a teachable moment.’ So she takes her son out of the room to be like, ‘we don’t talk like that.’ But the deal was like, that she the whole year was going around with his toys and being like, ‘we don’t need this, you know, we don’t need that.’ And so she was trying to teach him how to, like, prioritize the things that he has so that he doesn’t have all of these things that he doesn’t need. And so he was basically saying, like, you know, trying to be efficient, like, ‘well, we don’t need this.’ And I loved how honest — you know, like it was like the highlight of my whole holiday season. It’s just he was honest. He wasn’t gonna use that toy.


[02:49] It all comes down to how we were raised. And, you know, our greatest gifts come from those childhood wounds, you know, and that’s like what I teach. It’s what I study. It’s a big part of the yoga practice that I teach. So my yoga practice — I have been doing yoga since I was 15 years old. I really did it to rebel against my family. I’m from the Midwest and there was a lot of ‘you should do this, you should do that’ going on, you know, when I was a young kid. And I remember going and listening to the teachings that were going on, and it was like, you are bigger than your mind, you are bigger than your thoughts. You are divine. And I was like, what?! I was living in such like a shame mentality. If I ever had, like, a bad thought I was like, ‘oh, I’m a terrible person,’ you know. And there was this whole discipline, this yoga practice that was like, no, you’re far bigger than this. And we are all one here. And I’m like, whoa, like all of these big teachings that just blew my mind. So I started out as a really young kid doing this practice and it’s been part of my daily life, it’ll be 20 years this fall. So to me, you know, the asana practice, the things that we do on the yoga mat are just the beginning. You know, that’s like how do I take my manic mind, my the control-tower mind that like our culture really romanticizes, you know, to be in this control tower of your mind and how to come down and down and down and to ever-widening rings of being. That’s Rumi. But how do we come down? 


[04:20] How do we come down into our heart and live from a place of authenticity? And that doesn’t mean doing everything right. It’s coming down to a place of being real. This is how it is. You know, now it’s like this. And to be able to swallow up the way the things are right now and to show up in a way of like, OK, this is where I’m at. And to be honest with yourself and to live an authentic way, I think that we’re all good. I think they’re good kids. When we do things that are not good. You know, I’m big into the environment. Right. Like nature and me, it’s what I’m about, the nature connection. And I do a lot of cleanups in the world. And so I’ll go out and I’ll do ocean cleanups, and I’ll do river cleanups, and I’ll do park cleanups. And I’ve spent hours and hours and hours cleaning up trash that people just throw. And I get the question all the time is like, ‘oh, doesn’t that make you mad? Or aren’t people bad? Don’t you think that they’re bad?’ And I just don’t see it that way. I don’t see that that people are bad. I think that we are led by love encounters. You know, we don’t protect something that we don’t love. And so the people that are going around throwing things on the beach or whatever, it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. It means that they haven’t had this love encounter with the ocean yet, where they have felt this true belonging to this place. So. I think that’s the same with kids. You know, we just need to give them more opportunities to fall in love with the world around them, the people around them, and have it be a safe thing. 


[05:56] How do you bring yoga principles into raising kids, or into the classroom? And I think, you know, my mantra that I look back on my life that really freed me up was, ‘now it’s like this. Now it’s like this.’ And it basically highlights the impermanence of being human, right? It’s like, you’re going to get a new moment. That’s the deal with human beings. Were always changing, were always evolving. And, you know, for kids, everything is changing. And that can be really hard for kids. And they might not be able to have the language to communicate that that’s hard, you know, that things are changing, or their bodies are changing or, you know, the atmosphere is changing. But to teach them that that’s OK. That that’s your greatest strength, that you are an impermanent creature. You know, I’d like to link it back into nature. I recently taught these kids — I went to the Bronx and this group of kids that were kind of struggling in school. And I was brought in to just talk to them. And I had the task of, you know, teaching impermanence to them. And I went around — they’re young kids, and I’m like, does anybody, you know, like the fall? 


[07:04] Do you guys like the fall? Like, oh, we love the fall! Like, what’s your favorite thing about the fall? They’re like, I love the changing colors of the leaves. And I’m like, oh, would you love them as much if they just stayed green all the time? They’re like, no! We love that they change colors, you know? And I was like, well, you are those leaves, you know? It’s like you change all the time. And there was a group of women that I was talking to, little girls, actually, and I’m like, especially us. So we change all the time. And that’s our greatest strength. We’re like these beautiful changing leaves. And it should not be something that we fear. So I think it’s, you know, the yoga principle about impermanence is something that we just need more of in our society. Give permission to be different, you know, especially for women. We’re like, I want to have a flat stomach. I want to have clear skin. I want to have this and that and like we want to have these things not change. And it’s like, come on, you are constantly changing. And that’s the beauty of you. 


[10:23] A trend that I see in a lot of adults, especially because I am — my gateway with yoga is the physical body, you know, it’s like the physical body. And I was speaking before about how our culture, you know, really glorifies being a person that strategizes and plans and thinks and mulls things over. And, you know, the smartest person. And what we need more of is to have a body that is present in the now. And that’s the big trend that I see is just getting people into the room and allowing their body to be there as a resource, you know. Not being seven years behind in regret, or seven years ahead and worry of things that have not happened yet. If you think about that, you’re not in your body. You are out of your body. You’re in your head in that control tower, and you are not present in the room. And so if you’re not present the room, you have no body as a resource to experience your now. Really, if we just could arrive here with a body that was available to the now — I can feel my feet on the ground. I can feel the air coming into my lungs. I can — I’m a body that’s alive. You know, if we had that moment, I think that we’d feel more satisfied, you know, more at ease, more at peace with what is. 


[11:43] I guess the things that I see, like, in my own friendships, and family and the people that are raising kids is, you know, we take our wounds from our own childhood, right? It’s like, ‘my childhood wasn’t this and it wasn’t that.’ And so when we have kids, there is a lot of pressure to, like, make it better for them, you know, and it almost like goes overboard. It’s like every single moment has to be a memory, you know, and I got to do this. And it’s like they just stress out about creating this perfect environment for their kids. And I watch they, themselves, put themselves on the way back burner, you know. And they’re doing it out of devotion. Like the intention is so sweet and clear, but it’s like at the end of the day, they’re like, I’ve completely lost what I’m doing here. And then the kids are looking to the parents and going, ‘how do I be a person in this world? How do I dream? How do I go after, you know, what I want when they’re like, ‘I’m giving you everything!’ You know? 


[12:44] And how many times I’ve heard ‘I’m raising assholes’ is crazy! And that seems to be the word, too, they’re like, ‘I’m raising assholes. Like, how did this happen? I’m devoting my life, you know, to make these really good people and they’re just entitled. And they just keep wanting more and more and more. They want the newest technology, want this newest thing. And I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.’


[13:04] And my advice always is I’m like, they want to see you living your life. They want to see you going after what you love. They want to see you fail and get back up again.’ It’s not about creating the perfect environment, you know, so that they have everything you didn’t have. It’s about raising a balanced human being. And that means just as much of the bad as the good. You know, it’s like you’re not going to get out of your childhood unscathed. No kid is. Knowing that, can you show up in a really authentic, powerful way? Be a human in front of your kids and they’re going to see a real, authentic human. I mean, I had to learn the hard way that grief and joy are like pain and ecstasy. They live in the same house, they sleep in the same bed. You know, it’s like our capacity for one is a shared capacity for the other. So if we numb out everything that’s full of grief and pain, then we numb out all the joy too, you know. It’s not like you can selectively numb. You’re gonna have to feel both. And when I really did let that in and go, wow, you know, I took a moment to care about my own pain, like I actually cared for a moment. And I let it all in. I saw it all for what it was. I opened up my capacity for joy. I was like, oh, my goodness, I had more capacity for joy because I allowed the other things in. And I think that that’s hard for a parent to be able to be like — ‘but I don’t want my kid to ever experience anything painful.’


[14:42] And it’s like, well, that’s part of being a human, you know? We all have to go through that. Give yourself permission to actually feel the things without rushing to fix it, or rushing to numb it, or rushing to move past it. It’s, like, it’s put here for a reason and it’s gonna change my shape a little bit, you know? These questions, or this thing that I’m struggling with is gonna change me. It’s going to mold me and I’m gonna be different. But that’s going to allow me to walk in a different way in the world. And that’s what I’m — and that’s what I need. Because before this thing, I didn’t have the shape that could get me through that. But now I got that posture, and I can walk that thing. I can get through it. 


[15:36] Good Kids is a production of Lemonada Media. It’s produced and edited by Andrew Stephen. Our executive producer is Stephanie Wittels Wachs, and our music is by Dan Milad. Ad sales and distribution are by Westwood One. You can find out more about Lemonada @LemonadeMedia. If you liked what you heard, share rate review, say great things about us. 


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