A child, glued to an iPad, while her parents chat amongst themselves is a common sight these days. As we grow more addicted to our electronics and social media, we drift off from meaningful connections with the people around us.

We speak to Jolie Ow, the Director of Canvass (a boutique yoga, art and mediation studio) on what it means for children and parents alike to be empathetic with one another, as well as how practicing mindfulness and yoga can lead to a better quality of life.

The root cause

Addiction is like runaway train. Getting on hooked on Instagram, for example, can lead to harmful comparisons between peers, and even possibly cause bullying. Jolie reveals that identifying the root cause of anxiety among children (often, addiction to mobile electronics, sugar, and social media) is the first step to helping them.

The importance of empathy

Jolie says that when children are restricted from doing something, or told to not to feel a certain way, they won’t feel acknowledged or validated. This is where empathy comes in. Adults responsible for children need to be aware of the addiction, and handle the situation appropriately – namely, by being more empathetic towards them. Consider why the child might be overly excited or reluctant to do something before doling out snap punishments. Her session at FitnessFest will address the root causes of anxiety, addiction and lack of validity

Empathy is when someone comes to the hole with you, sits with you, and says, “I can’t imagine how you’re feeling, but I’m here.”

Although the saying “putting yourself in other’s shoes” is pretty apt advice, Jolie reckons it’s easier said than done. She advises against telling kids to simply “stop crying”, and instead, to try and feel their suffering and understand the reason behind their tears. Parents should learn to sit with their children’s emotion, and create a holding space for these emotions, all without unknowingly pushing their kids away.

Staying grounded

“Yoga isn’t just airy-fairy – it’s practical and rational.”

It’s pretty normal to experience impatience, especially in the fast-paced lives we lead. But Jolie notes the importance of overcoming this by finding a good outlet. Try meditating or introducing creativity into your life through writing, drawing and reflecting, and feel more at home with your body. Notice your breaths and pay attention to where your body gets physically tensed up.

Resisting ignorance

In Jolie’s eyes, one of the worst problems – ignorance – needs to be countered with humility. She says that although she lets people who feel they don’t need empathy be, she still knows that they are coming from a place of fear and hesitance, and that all they need is time. As is with people who don’t take yoga seriously (and who only see it as a form of relaxation), Jolie states that all they need are tools to be made aware.

Want to get involved? Join Jolie Ow this Sunday at the Main Arena Stage, from 4:00pm to 4:45pm as she conducts a “Yoga Art Mediation”, where families will be invited to form a human mandala at the very end! Check out FitnessFest 2017 -a vibrant weekend of workouts, healthy eats and great vibes, all at one place!

Already bought tickets? Read our Pro Tips on How to Get the Most Out of FitnessFest.