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#91 Emotional Regulation Through Mindfulness Practices with Aparna Venkatraman

Season #2

Parenting is a beautiful yet challenging journey, especially when faced with the complexities of raising unique and dynamic children. In this heartwarming episode, we dive into the world of emotional regulation through mindfulness with the incredible Aparna Venkatraman, the passionate founder of Beauty in Parenting. Aparna's mission with Beauty in Parenting is clear—to support families worldwide in fostering heart-centered connections. Drawing from her 20 years of experience, she guides parents through the intricacies of emotional regulation, offering insights that touch the soul. Parents, this is an episode you don't want to miss!

Some points we will discuss include:

  • Mindfulness practices for emotional regulation in parents and children.
  • Deep breathing techniques.
  • Meditation techniques
  • Family connection activities

We all get swept away sometimes. We lose our breath, our patience, our way. We yell, we cry, we wonder if we'll ever find our sanity again. But guess what? We're not alone. And within each of us, there's a wellspring of resilience, a reservoir of strength waiting to be tapped. On this episode, Aparna shows us the power of mindfulness–that quiet revolution that starts with a single inhale, a deliberate exhale.

Did you enjoy today's episode? If yes, share it with your fellow parents with "extra" kids! The more the merrier, right?




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In this episode, I’m excited to welcome a special guest, Aparna Venkataraman. Having 20 years of experience connecting with 1000s of families in schools, children’s hospitals and non-profit organizations since her teens, Aparna Venkataraman is the founder of Beauty In Parenting and is a worldwide parent coach, meditation-breathwork teacher, motivational speaker and wellness advocate for doTerra essential oils. With her approachable nature, strong intuition and problem-solving skills, she guides parents of babies, toddlers and teens, couples and extended family to empower themselves and build healthy relationships with one another through effective communication, creating boundaries, self-care, confidence-building and lighthearted mindfulness techniques.

(03:28) Aparna's Story: I sit down with Aparna to hear more about her story and what led her to this work.

Aparna shares her intricate journey, starting from being a premature baby to grappling with childhood anxiety and depression due to emotional distance. Her studies in psychology and child development paved the way for impactful work with diverse groups, all while harboring a deep desire to support families. A pivotal year marked by loss, floods, and leaving a toxic relationship spurred Aparna to create "Beauty in Parenting," aiming to support families globally in finding heart-centered connections.

I can't help but resonate with Aparna's story, and I bet many of you can too. It's a beautiful blend of personal struggles and professional growth, highlighting the importance of emotional well-being in parenting.

(08:00) Exploring Aparna's Focus on Moms:

I asked Aparna what led her to specifically support moms. Aparna opens up about her personal journey, sharing a glimpse into her challenging relationship with her own mother during her upbringing. This connection, or rather, disconnection, played a pivotal role in shaping Aparna's perspective. As she delves into her experiences as a toddler teacher, she shares that she began to notice a pattern — the profound impact of parent-child relationships on a child's behavior, development, and stress levels.

The decision to focus on moms stemmed from a profound realization–the multifaceted role moms play in their children's development. She dives into the complexities, acknowledging the tendency for moms to prioritize others, often neglecting their own needs. The struggle to express these needs becomes a common thread among many moms.

(10:58) Aparna's Involvement on working with Dads: Now, you might be wondering if Aparna exclusively works with moms. Well, the answer is no. I had the same question, and Aparna clarified that while her primary focus is on supporting moms, she does work with dads too.

In our conversation, Aparna expressed her openness to supporting fathers who seek guidance on various aspects of parenting. She recognizes the importance of dads in the family dynamic and is willing to lend a helping hand. This inclusivity extends beyond individual coaching sessions. Aparna emphasizes the significance of family systems, acknowledging that a holistic approach involves considering the dynamics between all family members. In her coaching practice, she not only addresses individual needs but also explores how the entire family can thrive collectively.

As we navigate through this discussion, it's evident that Aparna's approach is rooted in empathy and understanding. Her personal journey, combined with her professional experiences, has shaped a coaching model that goes beyond surface-level solutions. Aparna believes in the transformative power of identifying moms' needs, core values, and priorities, ultimately enhancing communication within the family.

(10:24) What is mindfulness

Let's start with the basics - what exactly is mindfulness? According to Aparna, it's all about heart-centered awareness and being present in the moment. For her, it started in her college days, during a tough semester. The calm it brought her was like a breath of fresh air. Here's what she had to say, "I really loved that feeling of calm that came over me, that feeling of presence. And also being in community too.”

Mindfulness, as Aparna describes, is the ticket to being in the moment. It's about connecting with your family, knowing where you're at in life, and waving goodbye to those worries. Aparna's got a nifty trick up her sleeve - a daily reminder on her phone to take five or ten deep breaths. Simple, yet game-changing.

"And the more I'm tuned into that, the less worries come, the less I feel, you know, dread for my day, or stress for my da,” says Aparna.

Now, let's get practical. Aparna drops a strategy bomb on us. She suggests taking those five or ten deep breaths daily. It's not just a suggestion; it's a life hack. Aparna emphasizes, "It's a practice of really having your mind and your body become aware of the times when you need to feel that sense of calm before you become burnt out.”

Here's where I chime in. I can vouch for Aparna's tip. It's deceptively simple but incredibly effective. I shared with her my struggles with consistency, and she agreed, "But when I do things like a very simple and quick mindfulness practice, like just five or 10 deep breaths, man, does it really change the way that I feel in my body?"

And there it is, the clarity we all crave. Aparna acknowledges that it's about follow-through and consistency. But, as she points out, it's about meeting parents where they're at and not adding to their stress. She's all about integrating practical, shorter, and more effective techniques into daily life.


So Aparna specializes in both meditation and deep breathing. Curious about how Aparna found her way into this practice, I asked her. She shared, "I created meditation for myself about seven, eight years ago during this time of transition." It's a personal journey that became a powerful tool for understanding triggers and finding peace amidst life's chaos.

Meditation, as Aparna explains, is not about becoming the perfect, peaceful person you might envision on a serene yoga mat. It's about sitting or lying with your thoughts and emotions, observing them, and learning to let them go. Aparna emphasizes the beauty of sitting with and understanding the waves of life that wash over you. In Aparna's words, "It doesn't have to be with a yoga mat or a meditation cushion, or you have to have an environment that looks really pretty and nice. It's more for you as well too." Remember that, folks—it's about your journey, not Instagram-worthy setups.

Now, let's talk about deep breathing and breathwork. Aparna spills the beans on how this practice is a fantastic tool for tackling stuck emotions, health issues, or grief. Aparna breaks it down brilliantly. Meditation is that still, quiet space where you connect with yourself, while breathwork is more active and intentional, a conscious effort to release what's bubbling up inside you. It's like a dance between stillness and activation.

I couldn't help but share my own experience with Aparna. Meditation can be a challenge, especially for someone with a busy brain like mine. But Aparna, being the guiding light she is, reassured me: "That just means I need more practice and to give myself grace for it being challenging."

For those with ADHD or focus issues, Aparna highlights the effectiveness of breathwork. It's a tool, a proactive and active one at that, providing an alternative for those finding stillness in meditation a tad challenging. She notes that while meditation might take time to develop, breathwork can be an easier entry point for many.


So, I had this heart-to-heart with Aparna, and she laid out the goldmine of benefits that a mindfulness practice can bring into your life. It's not just about personal calm; it's about creating a ripple effect that touches your entire environment.

I asked Aparna to spill the beans on what people can gain by committing to a mindfulness practice. Brace yourselves, because what she shared is nothing short of transformational.

According to Aparna, personally, it brought more calm into her mind and body. The stress levels took a nosedive, and she found herself reacting less to family and setbacks. But it goes beyond personal peace – mindfulness helps you observe, accept, and have more grace and compassion for yourself and others.

In her own words, "It'll help you to not see as many tantrums and meltdowns in life, whether you've got young ones or you've got teens or older children." And guess what? It's not just a personal journey; it extends to your relationships and connections with others.

Then, Aparna shares a practical tip about using deep breathing to help a child going through anxiety. She talks about a client who traced their fingers and practiced deep breathing, turning it into a shared regulation time. As I reflect on my own experiences with my kids, I resonate with how these practices not only aid in the moment but strengthen the parent-child bond.

Aparna emphasizes the trust and confidence built through these practices. It's not just about the exercise; it's about the shared experience and the osmosis effect of regulated emotions. And guess what? This is especially powerful for parents dealing with complex kids – those with ADHD, autism, sensory processing differences. It's about recognizing how you're wired, understanding your child, and building a toolbox that'll help you both navigate the decades to come.


So, my chat with Aparna took an interesting turn when we discussed tools for parents dealing with heightened emotions, especially when parenting complex kids.

“One of the things that most commonly is a challenge for parents of complex kids is being able to regulate their own nervous systems, their own reactivity in the moment of heightened emotion.”

Aparna sets the stage by addressing a universal challenge—parental reactivity. Acknowledging the struggle is the first step, and Aparna offers not just sympathy but tangible tools for those caught in the whirlwind of heightened emotions.

Aparna's Tool #1: Sensory Objects - Stress Ball:"Sometimes it's having a sensory object like a stress ball."

Aparna introduces the concept of sensory objects, emphasizing the need for tangible tools. The stress ball becomes more than a simple object; it's a lifeline, a grounding force for both parents and children in the storm of emotions.

Aparna's Tool #2: Essential Oils and Aromatherapy:"I support others in essential oils and aromatherapy."

Essential oils and aromatherapy emerge as soothing companions in the journey of emotional regulation. Aparna's support for these practices extends beyond mere suggestions; it's an invitation to explore the profound impact of scents on emotional well-being.

Aparna's Tool #3: Physical Gesture - Hand on Heart:"Placing a hand on your heart. I love doing that when I'm doing deep breathing, especially."

The power of physical gestures takes center stage. Placing a hand on the heart becomes a ritual, not just for deep breathing but for reconnecting with oneself. Aparna introduces a simple yet transformative practice to foster self-awareness.

Aparna's Tool #4: Establishing Boundaries with Space:"Taking a step back and telling your child, hey, I'm going to take a moment, I need some space."

Aparna draws from her experience as a toddler teacher to highlight the importance of boundaries. It's not just about physical space; it's about setting healthy boundaries, teaching both parent and child the value of a momentary pause.

Aparna's Tool #5: Physical Gestures - Leaning Back, Eye Contact, Walking Away: "Sometimes just remembering when you're in the midst of, you know, this is really stressing me out that you can lean back."

The nuances of physical gestures become crucial. Aparna suggests leaning back, making eye contact, or even walking away. These actions, seemingly small, hold immense power in diffusing tension and providing clarity in challenging moments. She not only empathetically addresses the societal pressure on parents to be omnipresent. This realization serves as a pivotal moment—an acknowledgment that it's okay to step back, creating a foundation for the upcoming educational insights but also offers a liberating perspective—a gentle reminder that setting personal boundaries isn't a luxury but a necessity. This shift in mindset aligns with the overarching theme of self-compassion and intentional parenting.


Also, Aparna shared valuable insights into the dos and don'ts of mindfulness practices, addressing frequency, duration, and optimal times during the day.

As we explored the do's and don'ts of mindfulness practices, the conversation naturally shifted towards setting ourselves up for success. Aparna shared her valuable insights, and it felt like we were uncovering secrets to creating a balanced and serene life.

Aparna's practical advice centered on the concept of a "calm corner." This isn't just for toddlers; it's a tune-in place for adults, a sanctuary where you can connect with your feelings, regulate yourself, and find peace. She advocated for parents to create this haven not just for themselves but also for their children, fostering a sense of familiarity and tranquility. She also provided practical advice on incorporating mindfulness into daily routines, suggesting morning and bedtime as opportune times. She also addressed the challenges of transitioning from work to home, offering solutions like using noise-canceling headphones and a "do not disturb" sign. The advice extended to parents, reminding them to set healthy boundaries and prioritize self-care without succumbing to guilt. Aparna highlighted the positive impact on parent-child and partner relationships, emphasizing the connection that arises from taking a little time for oneself.Aparna recommended setting reminders on phones and wearing comfortable clothing to reinforce the importance of these moments. She touched on the potential feelings of guilt but stressed the benefits of recharging and sustaining energy.

In Aparna's own words, "I love helping families create some sort of a calm corner." She emphasized the significance of finding a peaceful space, whether it's a dedicated corner or a personal sanctuary within your home. • Towards the end, she discussed the significance of being present and connecting with children and partners, fostering healthier relationships through mindful practices.


Before we wrap up the conversation, we explored insightful deep breathing techniques tailored for various emotional states, including anger, frustration, mental focus, and sleep.

Aparna shared a delightful visualization technique for managing anger and frustration. Imagining holding a dandelion or bubbles, inhaling for four seconds, and exhaling with a whistle sound provided a unique and uplifting approach. We discussed how this simple practice can release pent-up emotions in a healthier way.

The discussion smoothly transitioned to mental focus, where Aparna introduced a sensory technique. By rubbing palms together, placing hands over the nose and mouth, and inhaling essential oils, individuals can enhance mental focus. Aparna emphasized personalization, suggesting oils like frankincense or citrus based on preferences.

For sleep, Aparna outlined a bedtime routine, including dimming lights and creating a calm environment. She detailed a breathing practice with hands on the bed, emphasizing the rhythm of inhaling for four seconds, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight. This practice aims to promote deeper and longer sleep, benefiting those with varied sleep challenges.Aparna's practical advice extended to the use of essential oils for mental focus, offering a free wellness consultation for interested listeners. She encouraged the incorporation of these techniques into daily life, emphasizing the adaptability of the practices based on individual preferences and needs. The bedtime routine for sleep was presented as a short, effective practice, demonstrating its versatility with or without accompanying music. Aparna highlighted the potential benefits for both individuals and children as we explored these techniques, the focus remained on the simplicity and accessibility of incorporating mindfulness into daily routines, creating a toolkit for emotional regulation.

Wrapping up our discussion, Aparna shared a personal aspect of her family life – a love for cooking together. From traditional Indian dishes to festive meals, the family finds joy and connection in preparing and enjoying food. The use of music during these cooking sessions enhances the experience, fostering a present and shared environment.


If you've been nodding along with the insightful conversation we just had with Aparna, you're probably eager to know how to tap into Aparna's expertise, and infuse more mindfulness into your parenting routine, First stop, Here, you'll find a free self-care priorities chart that's like your roadmap to scheduling more "me time" and savoring those sweet family victories.

Aparna also offers a six-week parent coaching program, a deep dive into creating a self-care plan, establishing a calm corner, effective communication, and crafting an easy daily routine. This is where expertise meets your unique challenges.

Connect with a vibrant community of parents in Aparna's free Facebook group, "The Sanctuary Self-Care Space." Delve into daily self-care inspiration and participate in occasional challenges focused on incorporating more "me time" into your life. It's a virtual sanctuary where support and ideas flow freely.

For real-time updates and engaging content, follow Aparna on Instagram and Facebook under the handle "@BeautyInIParenting." Engage with her posts, share your experiences, and become part of a community that values your journey. Aparna loves hearing from parents like you and connecting on a deeper level.

A huge shoutout to Aparna for being the fantastic first guest of Season Two on the 3D Parent Podcast. Your insights into self-regulation through mindfulness practices have truly set the tone for an incredible season ahead.

Thank you, Aparna, for sharing your wisdom with us. And to all you wonderful parents, your journey to mindful parenting and self-regulation is just a click away!