As women, we enjoy the transition into becoming a mother, but forget to take care of ourselves. There is always someone to take up our undivided attention. The adorable gibberish that our babies utter and their mesmerizing smiles are breathtaking to notice anything else. However, amidst numerous diaper changes, pushing strollers to buckle up seat belts, feeding the right kind of food, till the time we tuck them under their sheets- women go through a whole day of emotionally and physically exhausting activities.
If you do not put a few minutes aside for yourself, you could end up resenting people whom you love the most. To be in solitude and spend time charging our batteries is an essential part of life which is not taught to us in any school. Every day there is built-in tension and our body volunteers to be the storehouse for all the stress, saving unattended emotions and desires of our own resulting in chronic aches and pains. With numerous things to do on our list, we start to take ourselves for granted and push our bodies into the automated mode, where we neglect to correct our posture and breath right. When we do not breathe correctly we are not mindful of what to feed our body, the results are negative.
As a mother of three beautiful children, a full-time yoga, meditation teacher, and an Ayurvedic dietician, when I come across my clients complaining about stress, I always ask them to make a small change in their routine. It is doable for mothers with kids of any age. A simple trick is to wake up at least half an hour before everyone wakes up. Just a few minutes of mindful breathing and yoga poses to add in your morning routine to stay active for the entire day and still enjoy doing all that you do to make the world a little more perfect each day.
Breathe right: Spending 3-4 mins of on just noticing your breath. Focus on your breath first thing in the morning. This can help you breathe from your belly instead of your chest. It makes a lot of difference in your entire day.
Practice “Sama Vritti” where you elongate your breath but in equal measure. Start off by inhaling slowly (four to five seconds deep) and pause for a moment to focus on your inhalation. This allows you to focus on your exhalation too. Exhale with the same controlled counts and again pause when you are done. Slow breathing is a natural way to calm your mind. Yoga is not all about carrying a fancy mat to a studio to practice. The truth is in its proper breathing, nutrition and just being mindful of your thoughts. “Sama Vritti” (Equal count of inhaling and exhale) brings down your racing mind to a standstill. You can plan your day better and handle any situation with ease.
There is no magic bullet for busy mothers to shape up. The insecurity and lack of self-esteem that we exhibit are noticed by our young ones who look up to us. So, there is no reason for you to provide an excuse. Just get started with your workout every day and before you know, it will become a habit. Happiness is what spreads around, so place high importance on your morning routine.
Child’s pose (Bala asana), 3-4 long breaths:
This is a pose which is also called (soundaryasana) beauty pose. In addition to increasing beauty physically, this pose is great to practice gratitude- I practice naming a few things which I am thankful for. It eliminates any crankiness due to insufficient sleep. In my restorative meditation classes, I find my clients love this pose, it alleviates stress and anxiety. It also helps in
- Releasing any tension in back shoulders and chest, especially if you have toddlers whom you carry or after hours of yard work.
- Fighting dizziness and fatigue
- Flexing the internal organs and keeping them supple
- Stimulating the flow of blood and lymph fluids in the upper chest and breast tissues
- Normalizing circulation throughout the body.
- Strong and steady breathing, very helpful when feeling anxious or vulnerable
- Soothing and calming the mind. Ayurvedically it’s a cooling pose.
Lastly, it also benefits the kidneys, GI, and adrenals reduces stiffness in the spine, is good for the liver spleen, genito-urinary disorders, menstrual disorders.
Cat stretch (Bidalasana), 5-6 breaths:
Cat pose is an elegant stretch for the entire spine, great for digestive health. According to Ayurveda digestive Agni is key to immunity. We all know even if we don’t welcome sickness sometimes it makes its way into our homes. As moms, we are the caregivers at home and must practise this pose to restore all kinds of digestive health.
Here are some known benefits of the cat stretch
Increases spine flexibility, removes any stiffness in the shoulder and neck. Pressing your palms down relieves arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tones all the muscles in your chest and shoulders
Is great for achieving right posture, maintain a 90-degree angle, hands are right below shoulders and knees right below hips, if you have any knee issues make sure to place a towel or some kind of padding. This pose aids in the smooth functioning of digestive Agni, it contracts the bulging tummy flab and manages stress.
Down Dog or (parvathasana, adhomukasvanasana):
This is one of the most beneficial poses in yoga, this give you a time to look at yourself from an upside-down angle. In this pose, every time you breathe in, you bring out all your positive qualities and let go of what is not needed. In other words, you’re unloading all your stress.
Down dog is a whole-body stretch that allows good blood circulation, when you carry heavy grocery bags, hand bags and feel all the weight on one shoulder this pose naturally corrects any shoulder issues.
Since the blood flow is towards your brain it creates a refreshing sensation and reduces and fatigue also improves memory and concentration. This is a great way to reduce mental exhaustion.
Just getting upside down brings an optimistic outlook and focus, this will change your attitude in every situation.
This is a great pose for stretching every muscle from head to toe, particularly stretching calf muscles, hamstring, back and forearms.
Restores a natural posture for mothers after delivery. Helps in bringing your posture back if you do a desk job and are used to hunching constantly.
This lengthens the spine, is suitable to increase height, increases bone density, reduces stiffness in the back, relieves symptoms of menopause, prevents osteoporosis, headaches and insomnia. It’s a great chest opener, benefits are decongesting lungs.
Tree pose (Vrksasana)
Like mothers, trees have always fascinated me and they are living proof of tolerance and patience. I like to stay in my tree pose for 5-6 breaths and feel strong and tolerant in situations which may surprise you in your day to day life.
Benefits include the strong spine, in Ayurveda you are as strong as your spine, so the emphasis is on keeping the spine strong. Tree pose also strengthens and tones the standing leg, loosens hip joints and establishes pelvic stability. This pose is helpful in achieving balance and builds self-confidence and overcomes any lack of self-esteem. It overcomes any postural deformities. Great pose for new mothers to improve concentration