Monday, November 28, 2011

Nine Reasons Moms Need Yoga

One of the most common things you'll here from mothers is that we just don't have enough time to do everything we need to, especially for ourselves.  When you're streamlining your schedule, a yoga class may seem like a luxury you can't afford.  I'd like to encourage you not to cut it out and convince you that taking that sacred time for yourself is worth making your yoga practice a priority.

Reason #1 - You need time for yourself.  It's the greatest paradox of motherhood.  To be a good mother you need to be fresh and strong and energized, yet getting rest and relaxing seem like some faraway mythical dream when you've got young lives to attend to.  But the bottom line is, without that time to catch your breath and be quiet in the moment, burnout comes really quickly.  My teacher, Ma Jaya, always reminds us to "drink as you pour," to take time to be quiet and still and blissful so you can go out and serve others.  As we know, motherhood is one of the greatest ways to serve and you need to be full to do it well.

Reason #2 - Lifting and carrying a baby puts strain on your back.  Starting with pregnancy, carrying a baby challenges the back.  The only way to keep healthy is to stretch and strengthen the core and back muscles.  With a regular yoga practice, I had finally conquered sciatic nerve pain.  But when my son was born and I found myself lifting and lugging baby and infant carrier, the pain returned until I increased stretches around the hips and lower back.  There is no better exercise than yoga for keeping the back, hips and core muscles strong and flexible.

Reason #3 - Being healthy will increase the quality of time you spend with your children.  Just think how much more you can enjoy playing with your kids when you are feeling physically strong and healthy.  Every baby loves to be lifted high above your head.  Older babies and children love for you to run and chase them.  Keeping your body healthy is a gift to your child.

Reason #4 - It helps to build a sense of kindness toward your post pregnancy body.  There is no doubt about it, pregnancy changes your body.  We are hard enough on ourselves before the baby.  But then the baby is born and there is stretched skin, extra fat and atrophied abdominal muscles to deal with.  Yoga gives you a way to gently work with your body to get reacquainted with how it feels now that baby has left the premises.  You can start a gentle practice of kindness toward each muscle and each part of you as you start using those muscles again and letting your body slowly rebalance into a new state.  The message of yoga is to be in the moment, not thinking back on how flat your belly used to be or how many weeks it will be until you can get into your jeans.  Instead you can focus on your health and wellness and the miracle that your body enacted.

Reason #5 - You need time to remember who you are.  You are a mother but that's not all you are.  Yoga gives you a chance to catch your breath and focus on your spiritual essence, the core of who you really are.  Yoga is not just exercise or stretching.  It's an ancient tool for connecting mind, body and spirit and going into a meditative state.  Motherhood is a wonderful role that we play and an important gift to the planet, but it is not the totality of who you are.

Reason #6 - Meditation heightens your intuition.  Yoga is meditative, and if you find the right class you will have a meditation included in the practice.  Meditation has numerous benefits, one of them being an increased connection to your intuition.  Intuition is a mother's guide.  If your mind is busy and clouded with thoughts, you'll have a hard time receiving your intuition.  Also, meditation eases the mind and helps reduce fear-based thinking.  Fear can overpower the truth of your intuitive senses.

Reason #7 - Yoga helps you expand your whole life.  Ma teaches that when you reach and stretch in your yoga practice you are actually reaching and stretching into your life.  You are literally expanding your life.  You are opening your body and simultaneously opening to new opportunities and new blessings.  By practicing yoga you can create a beautiful, open, meaningful life to share with your child.

Reason #8 - It builds patience and restraint.  If there's one thing I've found absolutely essential to motherhood, it's patience.  Yoga makes you more patient.  It teaches you how to tune into the breath, the present moment, and to use the breath to hesitate before reacting.  In Kali Natha Yoga, the yoga I practice and teach, we practice an incremental bridge pose, raising the pelvis up a little higher each time, yet hesitating an inch away from "the top."  This is a practice of restraint.  The beauty of yoga is that you learn to practice on the mat and then it starts to spill into your daily life, or what we call "yoga off the mat."

Reason #9 - It makes you feel good.  If you've practiced yoga and felt that yoga buzz you know what I'm talking about.  If not, you're missing out!  A good yoga practice makes you feel calm, centered, blissful, energized, strong, steady, open, nurtured, compassionate and connected.  It brings you to your natural state of relaxed well being.  Be kind to yourself.  Forget all the good things you haven't done for yourself and let yourself be happy now.  I love the quote from Dr. Wayne Dyer that "when you're feeling good, you're feeling God."  Yoga offers you a way to feel good and feel God.

1 comment:

  1. Though I am not a mother, I find that many of these reasons are an argument for why I need to make time in my schedule for yoga, too. I love the reminder to "drink as you pour." Truly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom, as always!