I love yoga. I really do. I love going to classes. I love doing videos at home. I love reading The Yoga Journal. Yoga is my lifeline to sanity, and has been my best friend and stress-buster for nearly 15 years. Before then, however, I thought of yoga as some crazy New Age thing where you chant in a foreign tongue and contort your body into a pretzel. I was also raised in a very conservative Christian home where it was considered devil voodoo magic.
One day during a therapy session, the Christian counselor I went to suggested I give yoga a try. I nearly fell off my chair. My brother had died unexpectedly and nothing I had done up to date had brought any kind of peace to my heart, so after careful consideration I thought why not.
At first it started with a simple home practice, doing the basic sun salutation series I learned from a book my college roommate gifted me, which eventually led me to take a class. The night after the first class I took, I slept deeply and without any of the nightmares plaguing my mind since my brother’s death. I found peace. Each pose brought stillness to my mind, strength to my body, and energy to my soul.
The five minutes of savasana at the end when you lay down to relax your body was the perfect time to rest my mind or communicate with God. I found that people in the gym yoga class came from all walks of life and took that time to communicate with their higher self, God, Creator, Spirit, Allah, or whatever their spiritual tradition. Yoga is for everyone.
After I became a mom, yoga became even more important to my life. It helped me get my body back after childbirth, relieve the stress of motherhood, calm the rage that came with postpartum depression, and energized my spirit so I could make it through those long, tough days. I learned that I didn’t have to spend an hour on the mat every day to get the benefits of it. 15 minutes in the morning and at night were enough. The morning practice kicked off my day on the right note, while the short routine at night calmed my monkey mind so I could sleep.
And I don’t need to turn my body into a pretzel either. A few simple stretches can bring a wealth of healing and strength to the body.
Even my daughter loves yoga. We often practice in the evening which helps the bedtime routine go more smoothly. It’s the one thing we can do together in my crazy working full-time, going to school full-time, and writing part-time schedule.
Most of the time I make my own routine, but here are a few resources I go to when I need some guidance:
Crunchlive.com has several great 30 minute or less yoga videos that are perfect for busy moms.
Food Matters TV: I recently joined this Netflix-like service that is full of health videos you can stream. They’ve got lots of short yoga videos for all levels that I use regularly. They also added some great kid’s videos that my daughter loves, too!
For other, great stress-reducing tips for moms, check out the rest of the posts in Mel’s Stress Buster Series