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Raising happy & healthy children with Rhys Menzel

Through movement, Australian Rhys Menzel discovered his true essence and purpose. He guides others on this transformative journey through practices like yoga, Tai Chi, and calisthenics. As a father of two, he resides close to nature with his partner Sara Allani, striving to be a present and engaged parent. He emphasizes that love, to children, is expressed through the gift of time.

On who we are at our core
“I discovered the power of movement through yoga, Tai Chi, and calisthenics after breaking my leg while playing soccer, the first sport I fell in love with. In this phase, deep depression set in, and I felt disconnected from life. Finding solace in yoga ignited an inner flame, enabling me to connect with myself beyond the physical body, tapping into the energy, soul, and spirit within. This journey led me to explore various practices in India and across Asia, prompting me to question the nature of our reality. I believe that as we go to sleep each night and awaken each morning, we often feel disconnected from ourselves. However, these practices anchor us back to our true essence, at the core of our being. The profound impact of movement led me to pursue it as a career, realizing its necessity in people’s lives. Whether engaging in movement upon waking or finding stillness through meditation, we can center ourselves amidst the chaos of the external world, offering a sense of realignment.”

On movement and fatherhood
“Children have an abundance of energy, and I believe leading by example is the way forward. The more I can move, the more my child can move. When I climb trees, he wants to climb trees. When I do Ninja Warrior training, he wants to be there with me. The more I play with him, the more he smiles, laughs, and sleeps at night. If I can implement movement into his life in a way that benefits his body, mind, and spirit instead of straining it like other sports do, I believe he will age better and have a thriving lifestyle. Movement enables me to be a more attentive father by keeping me physically strong and helping relieve stress. Parenting inevitably has challenges, like tantrums and moments of frustration, which reveal to us areas we need to heal. I view emotions as energy in motion, and conscious movement helps us stay centered in our hearts and souls, creating awareness and mindfulness. Part of my purpose is to share that knowledge passed down to me from the many teachers I’ve experienced.”

On love, defined by time
“For a father to be present, to place their children in environments that are noble, admirable, and uplifting, makes them want to become a parent themselves in the future. My children have revealed to me a deeper love and presence, showing me my fullest potential. This wouldn’t have happened without my surrender to fatherhood. Parenting is not an easy venture. It’s easy to place your child in someone else’s hands all day, to give them a device or a distraction. But ultimately, they just want to be with you. Devoting time to them may seem demanding or sacrificial, but in truth, it yields something far greater. It took me some time to comprehend this truth. Initially, all I wanted was to continue working as before. And I realized the magical years of zero to ten are something I’ll never get back. If I don’t give them my presence and foster a beautiful connection, they may not want to be around me as they grow older. I believe a parent’s greatest success lies in having their children desire their company even into adulthood. It’s about adapting and falling in love with time with them, and love to them is your time.”

On coming home to nature
“Nature helps children regulate emotions. The more time they spend in natural settings, the more they align with the earth’s rhythm and connect with their inner selves. Immersed in nature, they naturally absorb its wisdom. When they’re young, all they want to do is play. Nature is our greatest playground. If you allow a child to roll around in the dirt, play in the sand, jump on the ocean, or climb a tree, you will see their soul light up. I feel it’s our responsibility to preserve their connection with nature. I’m indigenous, but I think we’re all indigenous to the land and we can see the indigenous people live at one with the land. Returning to this harmony with nature involves respecting and revering the natural world, fostering a connection to the elements and the sky. Placing children in nature is one of the greatest things we can do for their emotions, nervous systems, senses, and learning experiences, fostering a deep connection to life beyond urban living and digital distractions. In nature, we discover profound peace.”

On taking things slower
“Even amidst city life, nature is accessible, whether in parks, green spaces, forests, lakes, or oceans. Try ‘earthing’ – walking barefoot, connecting directly with the earth’s surface. There’s a reason why the sole of our foot is so close to the word soul. There’s a deep connection with our feet and our soul. Strong feet create a strong anchor and foster greater body alignment. Additionally, take a moment to appreciate the sunset, allowing its beauty to rejuvenate your spirit and forge a connection with the natural world. Bathing in the light of a full moon can also offer profound insights and clarity. Embrace organic, locally sourced foods, expressing gratitude to the earth for its nourishment. Connect with your food before eating it, pausing to thank the earth for creating it and nourishing your body. Living with intention will create a life of deeper connection with nature. Take it a little slower.”

On the ever-present connection with life
“When nature isn’t readily accessible, our true essence remains present within, emerging through movement, meditation, play, dance, and music. In times when I feel distanced from nature, I turn to daily dance sessions to reconnect with my soul. I seek out walking trails and waterfalls, even venturing out in the rain to commune with nature’s energy. Recognizing our interconnectedness with all life forms, there’s always an opportunity to deepen our bond with nature, regardless of external circumstances.”

On supporting every journey
“We shouldn’t judge others because we can’t fully understand their experiences or upbringing. Everyone is trying their best, navigating the complexities of life without a manual on conscious parenting. We’re all on this journey together, supporting each other and sharing our perspectives and life experiences. While every parent desires the best for their children, the demands of today’s world can sometimes overwhelm them emotionally, physically, and energetically. But we have the power to enact change, returning to our roots and fostering a society where individuals are more aligned with themselves and aspire to raise children consciously and prosperously.”

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