No matter where we are on our exercise journey or where we are in life, yoga can meet us in the middle. Some of us may be intimidated by all of the pretzel poses, Sanskrit terminology, and advanced level students. But that isn’t yoga. Yoga is a feeling of rejuvenation. It’s about coming back to your body and into your mind for one calming, restorative hour.
There is heat and fire in some classes, especially those that are labeled as a Flow class. But the heat is up to us, it’s about how much or how little we want during a particular session. And in many Vinyasa Flow classes, the emphasis is not on the body (despite a lot of movement) but on our own energy and breath.
When we are busy raising children, working, running a household, and consumed by overall busyness it can be hard to find time to take care of ourselves – both mentally and physically. Yoga presents a beautiful way to achieve both. Here are some of the primary reasons why adding a yoga practice can enhance your life:
1) It gets us moving.
Whether we haven’t exercised in years, are an off and on exerciser, or are a regular fitness junkie, yoga is an incredibly powerful way to get our body moving in a different way. We are in control of how much or how little movement we need with no judgments from others. If we’re feeling unmotivated or unenergized, yoga is a great way to come back into our bodies and develop a deep respect for how we are made.
Whether we are extroverted or prefer to sit on our mat in quiet stillness prior to class, eventually we will start to form connections with others. Especially if we attend a class regularly. Finding other moms with similar aged children, learning life wisdom from an older student, or simply asking our instructor a question helps us feel connected. Sometimes human connection outside of our normal routine is what we crave more than anything. To feel heard, valued, and to talk to an adult who gets it.
3) Constant Growth.
Yoga is not just about movement. It’s about paying attention to your body, your breath, and your energy levels. It is not religious, but it can be deeply spiritual if you want it to be. If it’s relaxation you’re going for, you will find it. Regardless of what it is you seek, your body, mind, and soul will evolve. You’ll embrace the courage to try new things, you will find it easier to let go of preconceived or painful ideas, and you will learn to relax in ways you never thought possible. The key to yoga is consistent practice. Even once a week is fine. And if it’s hard to attend a class due to financial constraints, start a practice at home. But the key is to keep practicing.
Relaxation and rejuvenation are one of the main benefits of yoga for busy mamas. We go through most of our day hearing, “Mommy, mommy, mommy! I need this.” There are so many demands on us that at times it feels like we might spontaneously combust. In yoga, it is just us, beautiful music, movement, and breath. And at the very end, there is a long, deeply relaxing rest. Otherwise known as Savasana. In some studios, like Blue Nectar Yoga where MK practices, classes receive cool lavender scented towels at the end of practice.
If you are brand new to yoga, consider trying a rookie or beginner yoga class. You’ll learn basic poses and terminology alongside students of a similar level. Most studios allow you to rent a mat, but if you prefer to bring your own, these are great mats for a reasonable price. If you prefer something a little thicker, Gaiam also has this version. MK used these in her fitness business and loved the variety of colors and patterns. Plus they were lightweight and easy to roll up and toss in the back of the car.
If you’re past the rookie stage, Vinyasa Flow Level 1 or mixed level classes are a nice way to progress your practice, keep fit, and find rejuvenation. These are the classes MK takes.
If you’re looking for a class that targets a specific need, like stress and anxiety or office posture, many studios have workshops focus on these issues. Yvonne even took private lessons to help strengthen weak lower back muscles.
For a lot of moms, finding a class that fits their schedule can be tough. Look for a studio that offers a variety of classes and times. Sometimes weekends are the best options for busy moms. Some studios even offer mommy and me classes, though those won’t be nearly as therapeutic as class you can do on your own.
Try a few classes and instructors until you find someone you connect with. You will know you have found the right instructor when you can’t wait to return each week.
If you have taken yoga classes before, how have they benefited you? What is your favorite thing about your yoga practice? What would you say to someone who is considering trying a class, but is still on the fence? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
MK and Yvonne