Article by Dr. Genieve Burley, sharing how a yoga practice can turn you into a zen mom.
Being a mom is the most demanding role you will ever take on as a woman. Most days there are not many hours – let alone minutes – when we can create a sacred space for ourselves. A yoga practice is the most effective way of getting exercise and calming the nervous system at the same time. The practice of asanas (the physical pose) being linked together by fluid movement allows for the conditioning of the muscles, cardiovascular system and balancing the muscles and joints. A physical yoga practice will also create more energy when reserves are low. Through focus of the breath, the nervous system is set to a calm state. This is the whole point of the yoga practice: to remove the quick, repetitive and often stressful thoughts of the mind by drawing your attention to the breath.
Fall is the perfect time to introduce a new yoga habit. We are already in the state of organizing our calendars and steeping in routine. Yoga can absolutely be practiced every single day, as the time dedicated can vary. Also, some days the practice will look more like meditation than exercise. And what Vancouver mom couldn’t use a little more zen?
Tips for Starting a Daily Yoga Practice
Here are some tips to help you add a daily yoga practice to a busy home and work schedule:
- Take classes at a yoga studio. I feel that attending a group yoga class at least once a week is the best way to practice. You benefit from the guidance of a teacher and energy of a group. Fortunately in Vancouver you will run into a yoga studio in every neighborhood, including yours. A studio will usually have a variety of teachers and classes to suit different needs. If you aren’t able to attend regularly, a punch card pass is best.
- Internet or podcast classes. We live in the age of the internet. There are no shortage of yoga programs for you to watch online or listen to on your iPod. Doing classes at home lets you practice yoga while your little ones nap or when you don’t have much time. Eoin Finn does some free podcasts on iTunes. Some great websites are myyogaonline.com, yogaglo.com and yogo.tv.
- Meditation. Yoga was developed thousands of years ago to be able to sit longer in meditation. In fact, meditation is the whole goal of yoga. If you can’t get in a physical practice, meditation is a must. This can take five minutes or as long as you have to offer. All it involves is sitting in a comfortable position (not lying down as you don’t want to get tired or fall asleep), lifting up tall in the spine and resting your arms on your legs. From here you pick something specific to focus on, such as the breath coming in as you inhale and out as you exhale. Every time your mind starts to wander bring it back to the breath. It’s like training a puppy, you just keep bringing your mind back to the specific focus. You may not feel like much is happening, but in your life you will feel calmer and less reactive.
Once you have established a routine of having a physical and meditative yoga practice on a daily basis, you will find you can’t live without it. As the breath is trained it will become a tool that you will use unconsciously in times of stress. In addition to this, you will have more energy and get better rest. Who wouldn’t like that?
Dr. Genieve Burley is a Vancouver based chiropractor, yoga instructor and – most importantly- a Vancouver mom. You can find more information about her at genieveburley.com.