Making time for yourself is extremely important. Your mind and your body needs to be able to check out of life’s daily demands. With two boys under the age of 3 running around, this can prove to be extremely difficult. They wake early- and they are full speed ahead throughout the day. Synchronized naps have been my savior, though lately my youngest has decided that napping on me is the only way he will sleep. So how do I find time for myself? Yoga! More precisely, babywearing yoga. This is obviously not for everyone. But if you have small children who love to be snuggled up (find me a child who doesn’t) then this could be the perfect escape for you.
First you may be wondering what is babywearing? Amazing, that’s what! I don’t know how I would survive with two little kids without being able to wear one of them. (I have also been known to tandem wear) I wore my 2 year old when he was younger- and still wear him occasionally now. But my youngest who is 10 months old goes up in the carrier at least once a day. There are many different ways to “wear” your child; wrap, ring slings, and soft structured carriers to name a few. The choice can seem overwhelming but once you find your perfect fit your life will forever change. (For help finding your perfect carrier check out your local baby wearing chapter)
On to the yoga. Yoga as many know is a discipline of controlled breathing, stretches and structured body positions. (Note that you will not be doing any crazy positions (ex: crow), while wearing your child.) The yoga practice will be contained to basic stretches, controlled deep breathing and meditation. These easy to do stretches and breathing techniques will clear your mind and release endorphins.
How is this relaxing with a baby on you? While breathing deeply and wearing your child close, your child will likely fall asleep. Once your child is asleep, or in a relaxed state you will be able to focus on your own mind and body. So why not do yoga without wearing them? Well I don’t know about you, but I am unable to concentrate on breathing and clearing my mind when I have a child pulling at my leg, or crying because I am not giving them my complete attention. While practicing yoga with your child you will learn from each pose, finding new ways to sooth and console them.
You can practice babywearing yoga in the comfort of your own home, which is what I do. I have been practicing basic yoga at home for about a year, and began wearing my son and doing yoga when he was 2 months old. There are also public babywearing classes which are fantastic. These classes will allow you to bond with other parents and children while escaping from life’s every day stress. (To learn more about appropriate poses with out and official class you can find videos on YouTube).
A balanced mind and body is essential to living a happy life. Along with reducing stress, yoga can greatly impact your body. You will gain flexibility, have better posture and balance, lower your risk of heart disease, decrease anxiety, and improve lung capacity. Whether you are a mother like me, or if you are someone who works outside of the home, I recommend doing yoga three times a week to make your body feel stronger inside and out.
Photo Credit: Leah Hokenbrough