Parents Need a Yoga Practice Too

Hi everyone! It is beautiful outside where I live, which means that sitting down in front of a computer is HARD for me. I think I might be part plant. Just like the plants in my little garden, I get all excited and just can’t sit still once the sun comes out. And the five year old wants to get out there too. He’s a bike rider (with training wheels) now. He has aspirations for the Tour de France (seriously). But today I’ve had my coffee and I’m focused for a few hours, so here I am.

On Sunday my son and I walked to church since dad was at work. We live four minutes by foot so it’s nice just to take a short walk in the sunshine to start our morning. We’re fairly new there, so we’re meeting new people every time we go. This time I met a young family of four. It came up that I plan to teach yoga. Turns out that they were doing yoga once a week together when they had just one child, but now that they have two it’s hard to find the time. I think that’s something that all parents struggle with.

Untitled designIt’s sad too, because parenting is stressful stuff! Yoga with baby strapped to you is becoming more and more popular, but yoga with a toddler trying to eat a button they found on the floor hasn’t quite caught on. Yesterday I decided to take my yoga mat into my yard and it was only a matter or time before I had a small boy on my back giggling. It was fun and nice to hear him laugh, but…adjustments to practice needed to be made. Even if you can only get one pose in (start with Find Your Strength (and Length) in Mountain Pose if you need some inspiration) you’re still doing something good for yourself.

When we have young children it can feel like we loose ourselves as adults.  All of our attention becomes focused on managing our little people’s lives. Suddenly a world of experiences with our family and children opens up, but at the same time our old world of available experiences narrows. You won’t be going on that walking tour of civil war history at 7 pm. You probably won’t be going anywhere at 7pm for that matter. Work is where you can go to be an adult (doesn’t that sound fun?!?).

The great thing about yoga is that it can be done anywhere, anytime and with minimalUntitled design equipment (or none). The advantage to yoga is that you get to strengthen, stretch and distress all at once. So while going to a studio with a teacher (preferably with me if you live in my area) is a great experience, you don’t have to wait to practice. Your practice doesn’t have to be perfect.  Remember to Acknowledge Your Progress.

You can wake up early (if you have a child that you can wake up earlier than …) and turn on a YouTube video. I like Yoga With Adriene.  If your little one is old enough to play without needing a constant eye, you can take your mat to the park while they play. Kids will stretch and move with you (here is an article. With a little research you can find information about doing yoga with kids, like this site that list 58 poses for kids. And don’t get me started about nap time!

Parents need that time (check out this article from mindbodygreen.com).They need some self care. If you loved yoga before you became a mom or dad, you can still take care of that part of you. It might even make you a more calm, centered and happier parent. Maybe that can be a time that you and your partner share around your busy schedule. It can be a date in your living room after the kids go to bed (warning: yoga date night may lead to more children).

So your practice isn’t over once you have children, it just changes. And if you’ve never practiced before the benefits of yoga for you, and in turn, for your family can be worth the time and effort to learn and practice. It can even be a way to bring yourselves closer together.  We take such good care of our families and yoga is another tool we can add to the toolbox when it comes to raising children.

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