In honor of my mother, I’ve been thinking about the theme of nurturing in my yoga practice this week. It’s true that what we care for grows and changes under our ministrations. This can be true of a baby or a yoga practice. Loving our bodies and taking good care of them through movement, nourishment and proper rest are all ways to nurture and mother ourselves as adults. The following are some tips for good self-care as you practice. Some of them are yoga specific, and some can be applied off the mat as well.
Tips for a Nurturing Yoga Practice-
- To center yourself, place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Breathe and feel the movement of your belly under your hand. Follow the expansion on your inhale and the contraction of the belly on your exhale. Do this for several rounds of breath. Now bring your attention to the hand over your heart. Feel the warmth and weight of your hand and allow yourself to be comforted by the touch. Drink it in for several rounds of breath.
- Listen to cues from your body that you need to pause and rest. If your breathing is becoming labored or held, you need to stop and take a rest pose like Child or Relaxation on your back until your breath is even and smooth again. Off the mat, schedule in active rest time in your daily life. Active rest is not the same as passively curling up on the couch to watch TV or reading a book. When we actively rest we turn our attention inwards and stop all external activity. You can sit and meditate in silence for a few minutes on your daily commute or you can find time to put your legs up and close your eyes in the evening before bedtime.
- If you are able to make an improvement in a yoga posture or catch yourself falling into a bad habit and then resist, praise yourself. Acknowledge every little victory to build up your self esteem and feed the flame of desire to practice. Moms can be great cheerleaders. Now that you are a grownup, praise yourself when you achieve a goal.
My appreciation goes out to all our blog readers who are mothers or grandmothers. Thank you for nurturing us!