The angels, whispering to one another, Can find, among their burning terms of love, None so devotional as that of ‘Mother.’ –Edgar Allen Poe
| By Penny Amman |
Being a mother is usually a very positive feeling. However, many mothers today are stressed.
Whether you are a brand-new mother or your kids are teenagers, there are a lot of stressors in motherhood.
Much of this stress can come from the expectations placed upon a woman, such as how great you’ll be as a mother, how well your kids behave, what condition your house is in… Stress comes from worrying over a sick child, worrying that the child has good grades and enough friends — the list can go on forever!
Beyond the stresses of motherhood is the fact that a mother cannot concentrate on just one thing. Her attention is pulled in many directions at once. Even the act of using the bathroom in private is usually broken by kids barging in, a baby starting to cry, or a teenager hollering, “Mom, there’s nothing to eat!”
A yoga practice, either at home or at a yoga studio, can help a mother come out of the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system and into her calming parasympathetic nervous system.
Yoga is the union of mind, body and soul. A habitual practice of yoga not only helps you stay present in each moment, but also helps to bring a frazzled mother into a calming state of mind and being.
Yoga also helps build strength and flexibility into the body — not just the physical body, but the emotional and thought body as well.
As a mother, you want to find balance between all you do for your children/family and your own inner peace.
In honor of Mother’s Day this month, I offer you these three yoga poses that are very de-stressing:
Child’s Pose helps to stretch the hips, thighs and ankles while reducing stress and fatigue. It gently relaxes the muscles on the front of the body while gently stretching the muscles of the back.
To come into child’s pose:
- come to a tabletop position
- spread your knees hip-width apart, big toes together.
- Place your backside/bum on your heels.
- While breathing out, bow forward and bring your chest on top of the thighs.
- Rest your head on the ground or a folded towel. Arms are extended or down by your side. Keep your eyes closed.
- Remain in the pose 5-10 minutes. If your mind wanders to all those to do lists, bring your awareness back to your breath and sink into the pose a little deeper.
Legs Up the Wall
I’ve written about this pose before. It is my favorite for extinguishing stress. Legs Up the Wall is great for reviving tired legs, regulating blood pressure, refreshing the heart and lungs, and restoring the parasympathetic (calming/resting) nervous system. If your kids are old enough, they can practice this one with you as well.
To come into Legs Up the Wall:
- Sit on a yoga mat on your left side against the wall.
- Turn to your left side and bring your legs up the wall. You can also use your hands to balance your body as you lift your legs up.
- Rest your back on the floor and lie down. Let your head and shoulders rest on the ground.
- Close your eyes and rest here 5-20 minutes. As you remain in this posture, your body naturally taps out of the fight-or-flight nervous system and into the rest-and-digest nervous system.
Butterfly/Bound Angle Pose
Stretches the inner thighs, groin and knees. Can help relieve mild depression, anxiety. Soothes menstrual discomfort and sciatica, and stimulates digestive organs.
- Sit upright on the floor with legs stretched in front of you.
- Bend your knees and draw your heels toward your pelvis.
- Bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees drop open.
- Hold the feet or big toes with your hands.
- Let your breath flow freely in and out the nose, and press your heart forward as you fold. Keep a long spine (no rounding) if you have low-back challenges.
As always, check with your doctor before starting a yoga practice. Once you regularly practice yoga, you will start to melt away tensions and stress, and find inner peace. Even in the beautiful and chaotic life of a mother.
From my heart to yours, Happy Mother’s Day!
Penny Amann is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), an American Council on Exercise (ACE) group fitness instructor and a Total Body Resistance Exercise (TRX) Level-2 coach. She teaches at Pure Yoga for Life in Clermont.