#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

#Heartfulness and Children: An Interview with Dr. Veronique Nicolai (Part – 1)

“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or  fan, please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.”

Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Veronique Nicolai for World Moms Blog.

Part – 1 of Dr. Veronique Nicolai’s (Pediatrician and Trainer of Heartfulness Meditation) interview is published below. Part – 2 will be published on Friday.

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai and Daughter

Dr. Veronique Nicolai is a pediatrician from France. In 1997, she spent six months of studies in Medical Universities in Chennai, getting to know more about India from a medical perspective. She moved permanently to India in 1999 and has been living in Kodaikanal, Bangalore and Chennai.

She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness meditation. Since 2002 till date, she has contributed towards the development of an international training program that teaches Heartfulness meditation and the philosophy of Raja Yoga to practicants from all over the world.

Veronique has a strong interest in children. She compiled and illustrated two books for children to sensitize them to holistic living. As a pediatrician, she is involved as a school doctor in Chennai.

She has a daughter Shraddha (16 y.o), and a son Anand (13 y.o). Settled in Chennai, along with her husband, she calls this city as home. This pediatrician dons many hats, with interests in yoga, teaching, arts, baking and piano.

Purnima Ramakrishnan: How long have you been practicing Heartfulness Meditation?

Dr. Veronique Nicolai: I got to know about Heartfulness meditation when I was still at school, in the 12th grade. I had moved to a new city in the South of France, and my new best girl friend’s parents were meditating. We used to spend a lot of time at her house. I liked the atmosphere there and the profound conversations that we had with her parents. I found them wise and happy in their life. They were a great inspiration. Then my friend also started. By that time we both had started our medical studies and I thought she was crazy, as medical studies are very difficult. I observed her and she was doing great in her studies and in her life. It was the 90s and France was not at all opened to the idea of meditation. It was also a big step for me to take, to try something different.  I read also about meditation on the heart and in 1993, I started, just like that, almost without warning. Meditation has been my companion since, and it’s been the most amazing inner journey. I had gone into the medical field to make sure I will never cease to learn new things, all my life. With meditation, I opened an entire new field of wonder and discovery.

If the practical and immediate benefits of meditation hooked me at the beginning, it is the beauty of the inner journey that has kept me doing it.

PR: How do you think the Heartfulness Relaxation technique helps children?

VN: I don’t think it helps, I have seen it help. I like to try things first on myself, and then on my children, before I actually recommend it. We have a big rule, we paediatricians; never advise something new (I am talking mainly about new treatments), unless it’s been used on the market for many years. We have to be very careful because we deal with delicate and growing beings. So we often wait and observe before acting. In the same way, I observed how meditation works on adults. Then my kids tried relaxation. My son who is 13 is so positive about its effect. A boy of this age is not that easy to convince.

The first time he tried it, he said he felt something like a cool shower relaxing him and he felt so good. I did not have to ask him to do it. He started doing it on his own, in class, before exams and especially at night. That’s how I know it works. Because they choose to practise it, I did not have to give it to them.

In my understanding, Heartfulness has something unique. It helps children first relax their body.

There is so much stimulation all around, that some kids have trouble just sitting on a chair, and some are either impatient or fear to even keep their eyes closed for just a couple of minutes. Slowly with relaxation, they learn to let go of their fear, their anxiety.

Obviously their sleep is also improved immediately. But it goes further. We give too much importance to the body and the mind. Nutrition and health is also about the balance of the body and mind.

What about the soul? One’s deeper self?

I remember when I was a kid, I was very anxious about the purpose of life; I had a lot of questions about death. The uniqueness of Heartfulness relaxation is that, it takes the child to his heart. And there, by staying in the heart for some time and with eyes closed, the child is able to tune with his heart and get familiar with what defines him, at the core.

So with a very simple exercise, we teach the child to recognise that (s)he is not defined by what (s)he looks like, or what is outside, or her/his intelligence, but by the heart. This is for me the most important gift that we can teach a child: to find her/his inner self, make it strong and teach her/him to listen to it and have a life guided by the heart.

PR: How does the Heartfulness Relaxation and meditation help a woman be an effective and better mother?

VN: I really wish all mothers would learn this wonderful method. I loved it when I was not yet a mother, but its importance in keeping my balance has only increased when I became a mother. A woman’s well-being reflects on the entire family. So when I come home, in the evening, tired, exhausted by the day, and I know I have to cook, and two grumpy kids because it’s late, or they are just tired too, I find 20 minutes for myself to meditate. I call it my heart-spa. I come out fresh. After 20 years of practice, I am still astonished at the new energy it gives me. So I can handle dinner, grumpiness, you name it. You will see that actually, the grumpiness of your kids disappears when you yourself are fresh!

It is also a great experience to have your children wake up in the morning, when you are already fresh from your own morning meditation. It changes the way you send them to school. That’s the immediate, practical effect in a day-to-day life.

But deeper than this, there are questions about you as a woman, as a mother, that need you to pause and introspect about. And, well, I am still learning, as I experience it more and more. Meditation has been a great life companion to me! It gave me insights that no medical book or journal could have given me. I suddenly could understand, get answers, things became clear. That is the result of a deeper change, very much linked to a regular practice.

Part – 2 of Dr. veronique Nicolai’s interview will be published on Friday.

World Moms Network has teamed up with the Heartfulness Institute as a media partner for their three upcoming U.S. meditation conferences. This interview post is part of the conference promotional, by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India.

A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here!http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register

Please contact us (worldmomsblog@gmail.com) for a free pass.

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Register for the Heartfulness Conferences

Photo credit to Dr. Nicolai and Heartfulness Institute.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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SINGAPORE: Things I Want To Teach My Son

SINGAPORE: Things I Want To Teach My Son

My dearest son,

Being your mom has brought me tremendous joy, but also challenges. Many times, I worry about bringing you up well enough to reach your highest potential. I see other moms and feel like I am lacking.

Taking a deep breath I remind myself this is not a test. As much as it is my job to teach you, this is your life and your responsibility to be your best. I am here to grow with you.

I’m not the best mom in the world (though I’m blessed to know you think I am).

I hope you know that I am doing my best. I hope to teach you what I feel is most important to become a fine young man and live a wonderful life.

Be yourself.

There will always be expectations from people around you, to do certain things or behave in certain ways.

You are one-of-a-kind; born with a unique combination of gifts and talents. Seek to know who you are and have the courage to be true. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Don’t be afraid to dance to a different tune.

After some unconventional choices in my life, becoming a mom has made conscious of decisions I’ve made. I hope my life will show you that it is ok to not follow the crowd. There are no fixed rules or formulas for success. We must each find our own way, and that can only come from self-awareness.

Forget about trying to fit into a mold. Pursue your passion and live a life that brings you joy, meaning and fulfillment. Blaze your own trail.

The author Ruth and her son

Don’t just be a successful man, be a great man.

Most of us desire to be successful, and enjoy a good life. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I hope that you will also aim to be a great man. Be a man of courage, integrity, strong values and compassion, make a difference in the world. Show love and respect to others; don’t judge those who are different. Learn to appreciate. Life is not a competition, it’s a journey and we all need the company.

Be responsible for your happiness and your feelings

It’s not someone else’s job to make you happy. It all starts with the decisions and choices you make.

You can choose to let the words and actions of others affect you, or you can forgive, let go, and reclaim your joy. It’s important to acknowledge how you feel and choose to be in a positive, uplifting state.

Feelings are nothing to be scared of. They are only scary when you don’t know how to deal with them. We can learn how to positively manage and express feelings; learn to respond appropriately to others.

Feelings serve a purpose; listen to the messages they bring about any situation. When we acknowledge our feelings, we are opening the door to possibilities. Never suppress your feelings; it isn’t good for your health and wellbeing. You can be both strong and sensitive, and that will make you a wonderful man.

Failure is part of success.

Success takes effort, determination and courage. When you don’t succeed at first, don’t think that you are a failure. Instead, lean all you can from the experience.

Believe in yourself. If you persevere, you will succeed.

Success is an inside-out process

Success is an inside-out process. Your thoughts and beliefs determine your level of success. If you don’t have a strong inner state, success will be short-lived.

Focus on you inner game. Expand your consciousness to create a belief system that will support your outer success.

Be Thankful

Gratitude is an important ingredient to joy and success in life.

When we live with a sense of gratitude, we will naturally feel happier. There’s less need for comparison; we gain a balanced view about life, especially during challenging times. Focusing on the good helps us develop a positive mindset, which is the foundation to living a happy and successful life.

Appreciate responsibility

As you grow older, you will have more responsibilities. I hope you’ll learn to see beyond the tasks I give you and realize that you are only given them because I trust that you can do a good job.

Take responsibility for your actions and choices. You make a decision about something; you must bear the consequences. Don’t blame others when things don’t turn out. Appreciate the responsibility that comes with making choices. If the decision turns out poorly, learn from it. In the future, you will be able to make better decisions.

Learn how to communicate well

In life, everything is about relations. You need to be able to share your thoughts and ideas in order to achieve your goals. Learn to speak and write well.

Communicating is not just about speaking. It also means learning to listen. Communication is a two-way process. Pay attention to someone when they speak, look them in the eyes, acknowledge with simple gestures like a nod or smile. By doing that, you are showing respect.

One of the reasons I am so strict about you using smartphones is because I want you to first learn good communication skills.

Let’s grow together

Love, Mom


What things would you like to teach your children about life? What things about your own life would you like them to learn from?

This is an original article by Ruth Wong for World Mom’s Blog


Ruth lives in Singapore, a tiny island 137 kilometres north of the equator. After graduating from university, she worked as a medical social worker for a few years before making a switch to HR and worked in various industries such as retail, banking and manufacturing. In spite of the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during those years, she never felt truly happy or satisfied. It was only when she embarked on a journey to rediscover her strengths and passion that this part of her life was transformed. Today, Ruth is living her dreams as a writer. Ironically, she loves what she does so much that at one point, she even thought that becoming a mom would hinder her career. Thanks to her husband’s gentle persuasions, she now realises what joy she would have missed out had she not changed her mind. She is now a happy WAHM. Ruth launched MomME Circle, a resource site to support and inspire moms to create a life and business they love. She has a personal blog Mommy Café where she writes about her son's growing up and shares her interests such as food and photography.

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