Mama on the Mat – For Peace of Mind
I’m very excited to share this guest post with you from my friend Jennifer of Every Breath I Take. Below, she shares yoga practices mamas can do at home, as well as an easy way to keep up a practice of yoga at home – or even at work – with very limited time. Spoiler alert, you can get Jen’s current 5-class virtual yoga series for only $25 when you register using the discount code MAMAONMAT!“)
“The end product of child raising is not the child, but the parent.”
~ Frank Pittman
By: Jennifer Hoffman
Scientific research confirms what we all know from experience – the very best way to teach our children self-discipline, emotional intelligence and empathy is to model it. Sadly, I’m not always the example my children need. It often feels like these days of mothering littles are more about my own growth and maturation than that of my children.
I have to be intentional about this process. I have to carve out time, energy and awareness for my own self-development. There is a fair amount of talk about the importance of self-care for mothers, but we don’t often acknowledge that this means far more than a pedicure, glass of wine or time to watch our favorite TV show. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those things, but they provide little opportunity for personal growth. As mothers, we often under nourish our own need for quiet introspection.
My yoga mat has been a sanctuary for my own self-analysis and personal growth. Asana (poses), pranayama (breathing exercises) and savasana (relaxation) pull my awareness inward, from the world around me to the world within me. The self-reflection I practice on my mat has blessed my mothering in countless ways, but two of them inform my everyday. First, my yoga practice has honed my ability to reflect verses react.
People often think that I became a yoga teacher, because I am one of those easygoing, “zen” people. The opposite is true. My natural tendency is more anxious and sharp. But, my yoga practice resets my pace. It slows me down. It quiets the alarms that send me into reaction mode. As a result, I yell less and empathize more. Instead of pointlessly repeating (at an increasingly louder volume) a request my 3-year-old refuses to comply with, I take a moment to consider her point of view, calmly share mine and strategize a solution. When I reflect instead of react, I am better able to set and enforce clear boundaries with love and empathy.
The props are wonderful, but you can also practice legs-up-the-wall pose without any props. Just bring your hips as close to the wall as is comfortable for you. Place the eye bag over your eyes. Allow your legs to rest comfortably against the support of the wall as your torso relaxes into the floor. Remain in the pose for 5 – 15 minutes. When you are ready to come out, roll onto your side. Rest in the side-lying position for a few moments before sitting up.
The supported bound angle will require a few props, but it will be well worth it! A firm couch cushion substitutes nicely for a yoga bolster, and a few beach towels can act as blankets. Again, remain in the pose for 5 – 15 minutes. When you are ready to come out, roll onto your side. Rest in the side-lying position for a few moments before sitting up.
Obviously, the more time we spend practicing yoga, the more benefits we will see. If getting to a class is difficult for you, and yoga DVDs grow monotonous, then come by and check out my virtual yoga studio, Stay-at-Home Yoga.
The current 5-class series is wonderful for moms, even if you aren’t a desk jockey. (One of those classes is a full restorative class!) Plus, it comes with 10 yoga break videos that can be quickly added throughout your day! Save $5 off the regular full series price of $30 when you use the discount code MAMAONMAT before April 30th.
This post is the first in a three-part blog tour. Check out the schedule and links to the other two posts, hosted by Shannon at Growing Slower and Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry.
Jennifer Hoffman is not your average yogi. A public accountant turned certified yoga instructor, Jen now balances an active practice with her busy life as a blogger, mother, and wife. The key to this balance is simple: Jen lives life with intention. At EveryBreathITake.com, she encourages her readers to do the same, writing with a heart for whole and healthy lives on parenting, faith, relationships, and, of course, yoga. She is also the host of the Intentional Chatter Podcast. Jen teaches Virtual Yoga Classes from her home studio in Northern Virginia and relies on her husband Derek to keep their two lovely children – and two furry Labradors – off camera through Namaste.