Menu

5 effective ways even the busiest mama can sneak yoga into her life

I can't imagine having the patience or the stamina to survive all the demands of mom-life without a yoga practice.

5 effective ways even the busiest mama can sneak yoga into her life

There are any number of entry points into mindfulness. Going to a yoga class, or doing sun salutations are two common entry points, but as a new mom, one might have to ask herself, what else is there?

I can't imagine having the patience or the stamina to survive all the demands of mom-life without a yoga practice. I started practicing yoga when I was 17, and I can assure you that my practice looks very different now. It's nearly impossible to find the time or to prioritize myself. However, as a sensitive person, I have learned that I cannot be the mom I want to be if I don't invest in some breathing room for myself.

FEATURED VIDEO

Here's how to sneak yoga into your day.

1. Breathe

I know your hands may be so full that you have no time for yourself, but you can always breathe mindfully. Breathing is one of the truest ways we can provide for ourselves.

Did you know that every time you breathe in your blood pressure increases slightly? And every time you breathe out your blood pressure decreases a bit? Breathing in stimulates your heart. Breathing out allows you to let go and relax.

Are you feeling down, and lost in your responsibilities? Try focusing on your inhales. Are you feeling anxious and overwhelmed? Try focusing on your exhales. Breathe in with deep awareness. Breathe out slowly and calmly.

You can breathe mindfully while you are nursing, preparing meals, right before you walk in the door, while you are putting away toys… whenever you need it!

There is research proving that breathing at a rate of six breaths per minute (one breath every 10 seconds), is healthy for the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is like the Meditation Teacher of your nervous system. When it is a healthy contributor to your life it is receiving information from your body about your stress levels, helping to regulate your stress, and sending information to your heart, gut, and hormones that you're safe to create, digest and procreate. So inserting some mindful breaths into your day is my number one recommendation for taking care of your nervous system.

2. Play on the floor with your children

Many of the shapes that young children move through are actually yoga postures, which strengthen the core, open the hips and empower one's reach. When my son was a newborn, I laid down next to him every morning. Both of us were lying on our back, kicking our legs in the air, strengthening our core muscles, and giggling of course. He eventually learned how to roll over, pull himself up, crawl, squat, stand and walk. As I went through these milestones with him I recovered my own waistline and bonded with him. It is a really special time to interact non-verbally and in the present moment with your little one.

When my baby became a toddler and we played trains (way too early in the morning), I would sit down on the floor with him and before I know it I was moving through hero's pose, bound angle pose, a squat, a down dog, a simple twist, and all sorts of interesting variations of these traditional postures.

You don't even need to know the names of the poses, just do what your child is doing. They are naturals. My older son is so agile and moves so quickly I can barely keep up. My younger son is much more sturdy and likes to sit and play with characters. I learn a lot about their individuality by mirroring their movements.

The point is to find time to be on the floor, exploring, playing and being light-hearted together, and to think of this as a yoga practice. This is a much different approach to a yogic state of mind that many of us are used to, but it creates a similar experience of unwinding and leads to a calm an easy breath. The dishes may pile up as you put your time into moving together, but it's worth it.

3. Meditate at dawn

Traditionally, dawn is considered the ideal time to meditate. When my children were very young I was my most busy, and family and work demands were eating up all of my personal time. I benefited from waking up around 4:30 AM, meditating for 20-30 minutes and then going back to sleep if I could.

Now that my kids are sleeping in a little longer, I will wake up by 5:30 AM, shower, meditate and feel like I am starting my day on my own time, rather than being dragged out of bed.

My children will often come and sit down on my lap or next to me. When I am centered, they are more centered. When they graze at the edges of my patience throughout the day, I lean into my meditation—I visualize myself sitting on my meditation cushion, and the tension often diffuses.

I find that by making the time to meditate early, there is a lot less wasted energy and there are fewer power struggles throughout the day. So even though I wake up earlier, I have more energy.

My favorite meditation practice is said to be over 2,000 years old, but it is remarkably relevant for a new mom.

Recite to yourself the following phrases:

  • May I be filled with loving-kindness
  • May I be well
  • May I be peaceful and at ease
  • May I be happy

You can then remember to say these lines to yourself when your kids are splashing over your limits at bath time. You can also extend them to your partner or colleagues when you need to reconnect with the good in them. Being able to think "May you be filled with loving-kindness" to my husband is often just the pause I need to calm my temper down.

4. Just practice

Let your children run around you, jump on you and attempt to distract you. Let them fight with each other or make a mess. But stay focused, and sneak some yoga in.

If you don't know how to self-practice, watch a video, or have a teacher come over. I've taught women whose young children are running around them, and distract them feverishly, but we stay with it, and their bodies still soak in the yoga and enjoy the benefits of moving and breathing mindfully.

In my attempts to practice at home, one of two things typically happens. Some days my sons are very interested in what I am doing, and they won't leave me alone. They jump on my updog. They ride up and down on my cat/cow. Basically, they think I'm a tunnel or a bridge no matter what pose I am doing. This isn't very centering, it doesn't last long, but it does give me the chance to introduce my son to yoga.

Alternatively, they sense the quiet in the house, and they settle into their own center. When I am finished practicing, and I go check on them, they are typically doing puzzles or building with magnetic blocks. It's as though my message to them that I need time to myself sends a message to them to do the same.

5. Commit to a schedule

Although it's less time consuming to sneak yoga and meditation in at home, there is also something to be said for making it to class, connecting with other like-minded adults, and being challenged and cared for by a teacher.

My best advice for making it to class is to take it seriously. Decide how often you need to do yoga to reach your fitness and peace-of-mind goals. Then look at your schedule, and find the weekly classes that work for you. Go to those classes every week. Get to know your teachers.

A mom needs to be cared for and looked after too. Sit down with your family, and ask them for their support. Let them know that you understand that it means you will be away on Saturday morning, or Thursday nights, or whatever you decide. They will see how much it benefits you, and therefore benefits them.

Yoga is a verb. It's something that we do.

We do yoga to harness our wild thoughts and feelings, and to direct our passions towards some greater purpose. This is what I love about yoga anyway.

I love that I have to show up. I have to physically, mentally and spiritually act. To do yoga is to simultaneously take life into your own hands, and to surrender to the currents that are greater than yourself. It feels a lot like parenting actually. I am in charge. I am not in charge.

I know that becoming a mom brings a new definition to the words busy, tired, and fulfilled. It may not seem like you have time to practice, but in making the time it may surprise you with new-found inner resources that are exactly what you need.

You might also like:

Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

Keep reading Show less
Shop

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop
International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

Keep reading Show less
News