It may not seem realistic to take time for an hour 1/2 yoga class, or even to steal away for 10 minutes silent deep breathing these days, but I want to share with you 3 easy ways to create the best parent-wellness for you right now! The key is recognizing small frequent opportunities to incorporate Yoga and Meditation into your daily groove. Here are 3 techniques that help me feel good about myself and more available to my child, relationships, and all of the responsibilities that come with life:
1. Breathe - Sitali Pranayam is a wonderful calming breath exercise that can be done anywhere and has been used by yogis for centuries to cool the nervous system, bring down high temperatures, and bring mental peace. We parents know that this one can be especially important sometimes.
How: Create a taco tongue over lower lip, and take a slow deep inhale through mouth. Close your mouth to exhale through nose. Eyes can be closed and rolled up, or it can be done looking into a feverish, crying baby’s eyes, driving with a screaming toddler in the backseat, or while preparing dinner after a long day.
2. Stretch - Down dog is said to be the most essential of all yoga postures and can be used as a complete yoga set to brighten the aura (now, what parent doesn’t need that?). This simple posture is even touted by many structural professionals to offer total re-alignment to the spine and pelvis. Children have a blast and take to it as soon as they can crawl. I recommend putting small babies under the “down dog bridge,” teaching it to older children and spouses as a fun way to move around the house.
How: Begin on all fours. Imagine that your tail bone is attached to a rope being pulled to the ceiling and push your bottom up until your legs are straight and your head is hanging between your arms. Look back and be sure that you can’t see your heels. Place weight on all parts of your hand and the balls of your feet. Now relax in the posture! As you practice down dog, you can begin to relax your heels while you feel your heart stretch closer to the floor. Walk around the room like this for fun with the family.
3. Energize - What parent doesn’t need more energy?! Incorporating a little shake and shimmy into your day is truly the best way to let go of tension and stay in that youthful frame of mind that will keep you connected to your family. It may be hard to believe that this is yoga, but the “Kundalini Shimmy” is tried and true!
How: Put on some fun music, raise your arms up high and begin shaking your fingers and arms. Now begin vigorously moving your head, belly, and hips. Keep the upper body going and add your thighs, knees, and feet. Maintain a powerful breath through your nose only and go for as long as you can to reinvigorate your brain and body. You can even do this holding a baby and they will have a blast – obviously your arms are not over your head while holding the baby. To end take a deep breath and hold for ten seconds. When you exhale, let go of all fatigue and frustration that may have been there before.
Making these easy yoga techniques part of your day will help transform and revitalize you. You can do them as one full 5-10 minute set, or sneak them in here and there. Whatever works best for you is the best way to do it, and you will notice a deeper connection to yourself and your child(ren). What is most important here is that you are making time for self-care! Remember, you can’t quench a thirsty baby if your cup is empty!
Crystal D’Angora combines her many years as a Pilates and Kundalini, prenatal, and children’s yoga teacher with her mommy-hood and love of movement to help you find the joy of movement in your body. Follow her at Twitter: @Lightleaders
***Please remember that the PAM Blog is not about giving you advice, we are mom’s who love all things pregnancy and all things parenting. We are sharing our experience and our passion. Please use your judgement in all decisions you make regarding your body and your parenting, and discuss with your partner and seek expert advisement as warranted.