How Becoming A Mom Made Me A Better Yogi

How Becoming A Mom Made Me A Better Yogi

Like most pregnant women, I knew my life would change when I became a mother. That was a given.

What wasn’t a given was how much having a baby would change my yoga practice.

Here are the 5 ways, becoming a mom made me a better yogi.

I Learned Self-Acceptance

Before I became a mom, I was used to being “good” at things, including yoga.

Sure, I encouraged my students to “accept themselves” and “enjoy the journey.” But, if I’m being honest, I didn’t often put myself in a position where my own skills were challenged. I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone.

Becoming a mom changed that.

Between the endless diaper changes and nursing sessions, I realized that it’s impossible to be “good” at being a new mom.

There was so much to learn, so much to do, and so little sleep, I couldn’t keep up. I quickly realized that pushing myself to meet an unattainable ideal, would drive me into the ground.

I had to start walking the walk.

Slowly, I learned to accept myself in all my messiness. I gave up the idea of perfection and embraced being present to the beautiful chaos of motherhood. 

That translated into my postpartum yoga practice. My postpartum body was tired. The poses I was once so “good” at were often hard. I learned to let go of being “good” and enjoyed the experience, accepting myself where I was.

I Learned the Value of Time

Non-parents say they are busy. I said it often before having kids.

But there’s a certain urgency that only parents seem to grasp. Before becoming a mom, my yoga practices were at least 60 minutes and often 90 (I can’t even fathom that now). For the most part, the day had enough hours.

After becoming a mom, I learned how to do everything in less time. From cleaning the kitchen, to building my business, to my beloved yoga, I trimmed everything down.

I learned the fine art of squeezing in what I needed to do between naps and snuggles. I condensed my luxurious yoga practice into an efficient 20-to-30 minutes. It took some time to figure out what to include and what to let go of, but I stuck with it.

Because a 20-minute practice is better than a 60-minute practice that NEVER happens.

I Learned What Attention Was

In yoga, there’s a term – Drishti, which translates to focused gaze. I had been practicing it for years. Like most yogis, I thought I had it down. I was wrong.

I was wrong.

Only after I had my daughter did I feel the true power of Drishti. Infants are programmed to find their mother’s eyes. As any parent can tell you, locking eyes with your new baby is one of the most powerful, emotional feelings.

When I gazed into my daughter’s eyes, and she stared back into mine, I finally understood the true power of Drishti. The rest of the world melted away. All I experienced was that moment with her.

That moment created a new sense of focus in my yoga practice. If I’m not focusing, I’m aware of it now, and I can reach for Drishti.

I Learned That Change Was Constant

Babies are wonderful, but they aren’t exactly compatible with a routine. As soon as I figured out my daughter’s patterns, they changed.

She forced me to go with the flow. To observe and assess, before acting. 

I found my practice changing on an almost daily basis too. As my body recovered from pregnancy and childbirth, it needed different poses. As my babies grew bigger and my arms grew stronger (but more tired), as I spent hours nursing little ones, I showed up to my mat each day with a different body.

Instead of forcing my body into a practice, I arrived on my mat and observed what I needed that day. That listening allowed my practice to evolve with the needs of my body.

I Learned the Value of Rest

Before kids, I spent most of my yoga time in strong, powerful flows. After the trials of pregnancy and childbirth, those practices weren’t cutting it.

My body craved nurturing…more restful, restorative practices became my go-to. And the more time I spent up at night with my newborn, the more I saw the value of resting.

A few minutes to stretch and rest on a mat? Yes, please. The best news was that there was no sweat necessary. I didn’t have to worry about squeezing in a shower on top of it all.

Lessons From Motherhood

I’ve learned more about myself in the past 5 years of motherhood than I had in the 30 years before. Each new stage of parenting brings new realizations and joys. And in the same way, my yoga practice continues to evolve with it.

I can’t wait to see what other lessons I learn about myself, and yoga, as I continue this wild ride of motherhood.

 

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

4 Ways To Increase Energy: A Guide For Worn Out Moms

4 Ways To Increase Energy: A Guide For Worn Out Moms

If I’m not careful, I can easily give all my energy to those lovely, energy sucking, children of mine. I know when it’s happened because I end my day feeling like a limp, angry, noodle.

As a mom, you give to others, think about others, direct others. All day long, your energy is moving OUT.

Giving is good. But if that’s all you do, you become depleted.

What you need is to bring energy back IN.

So the million dollar question: How? 

Keep reading for four quick self-care activities, proven to nourish you and bring energy IN. Do one or all four every day. You’ll fill your energy tank, and end the day feeling balanced.

 

Four Ways Worn Out Moms Can Increase Their Energy Quickly

 

1. Deep Breathing

The Sanskrit word for breath is prana, which translates to “life force.” So, yeah, let’s bring some of that IN.
A 5-minute breath practice is one of the most potent and immediate self-care tools. It creates calm, reduces reactivity, and helps you take the day’s challenges in stride. I recommend deep breathing first thing in the morning to start your day on the right foot.

 

2. Meditation

We moms DO NOT realize how harsh our inner critic is. A daily 5-minute meditation practice attunes you to your ongoing self-talk. When you first start meditating, you will find surprising amounts of negativity. “I’m not doing a good job.” “I yell too much.” “I should play more.”
Turns out, the criticism you hear meditating is playing in your head ALL DAY LONG. Talk about exhausting.
A consistent, short meditation practice shines a light on your self-talk. Once revealed, you can choose self-compassion instead of self-criticism. Muzzling that inner critic frees up a lot of mental energy.

 

3. Do Things That Light You Up.

As much as I love being a mom, it’s easy to feel swallowed by the responsibility. To counter this, spend a few minutes each day nurturing your deepest priorities. You’ll feel vibrantly alive.

If you need help getting clear on activities you can fit into your busy life, I’ve got a system for that.

 

4. Practice Gratitude.

Our lives are busy. It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty in life.
Start a gratitude practice. Each night, write down at least 1 thing you are thankful for. Let it sink in. Revel in the beauty in your life.You’ll fill with positive energy and realize that the chaos of your life is beautifully perfect.

 

There they are. Four actions to restore your energy. Try it out. You’ll be amazed at what you create.

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

5 Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

5 Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

Tips For Doing Yoga With Kids

“Mama, can we go do some yoga?”

This little phrase is now a regular utterance at my house. But that wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I couldn’t get my love of yoga to rub off on my kids – no matter how much I requested or pushed.

It made no sense to me. How could they not love this practice that I found so fun? How could they see me practicing yoga ALL THE TIME, and not want to join in?

And then one day, I watched my children playing outside. As they moved from one shape to the next, all without premeditation or consideration, it hit me:

Kids don’t need to practice yoga. Their entire day is yoga.

Movement and mindfulness are a child’s normal way of being. For adults, not so much. At some point along the way, we lose our connection to self and the present moment. We have to “practice” finding it on our yoga mats.

Now, instead of inviting my children into my yoga practice, I step into theirs.

I don’t set yoga apart as a special, separate part of the day. I roll out a mat while we are playing and start moving. I let go of expectations and let them join as they like and leave as they like.

The result? They love yoga. They get excited when I roll out my mat because I’m going to be on the floor, connecting with them. Don’t believe me?

 

For those of you that would like to invite yoga into your days, here are 5 tips for doing yoga with kids.

 

1. Connection over Perfection.

Don’t waste a single moment correcting your child’s form or trying to teach them the right way to do a pose. This is your chance to have fun and foster a love of movement and yoga in your child. Don’t let the notion of “right” and “wrong” stand in the way of connection.

2. Keep it short!

Things go downhill after 10 minutes or so. If you hope to get your own full yoga practice in, think again.

3. Play With Advanced Poses.

Children’s bodies are incredibly strong and flexible. My daughter can pop up into a headstand and throw herself into a wheel pose without thinking. And she thinks they are FUN, not SCARY. Play with these poses with your child. She’ll be more engaged in the experience. You’ll learn to approach them with more levity.

4. Be Flexible.

There will be days when your kid is SO NOT INTO yoga. That’s ok. Cut it short if it isn’t working. End on a positive note (like a cuddly savasana together).

5. Practice Breath.

Take a few deep breaths together at some point in the practice. You’ll give your child a tool they can come back to again and again when they need to relax and manage stress.
What are you waiting for? Go roll out that mat!

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

How To Make Time For Self-Care (Without Carving Hours Out of Your Day)

How To Make Time For Self-Care (Without Carving Hours Out of Your Day)

Self Care For Busy Moms

“I feel like I have no idea what to do that would make enough of an impact to call it self-care. And I don’t have time to research what those things might be because I’m constantly “on” for work or parenting!”

 

Sound familiar?

The reality is we’re all a little lost when it comes to “self-care.”

You want to make time for yourself. But you don’t know what to do. When you get a free moment, you default to the easy outs like Facebook and Netflix. Too bad they don’t actually make you feel good.

How do I know? Because, every day, I talk to women who CRAVE more time to focus on themselves.

Luckily, you don’t have to book a flight to Fiji to restore.

You can take care of yourself in about 10 minutes a day, IF YOU HAVE A PLAN.

Your self-care plan must lay out WHEN you will make time and WHAT you can do in those times. And your WHAT will differ from everyone else’s.

Here are 3 reasons a self-care plan is your key to self-care success:

 

1. A plan ensures you take advantage of your few free moments.

Time is your most precious resource. That is true for everyone. But as a parent, you know exactly how true it is. An unexpected chunk of free time is like getting an oil change, and finding out they’re giving free ice cream sundaes while you wait! It’s a gift.

You’ll waste that gift without a plan. You’ll spend the whole oil change debating toppings and consulting your facebook friends. And then your car’s ready and you’ve missed your chance.

But if you have a plan, you’ll take full advantage of that gift of free time. You’ll head to the counter and order a vanilla sundae with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and almonds.

When you have a plan, you know exactly what to do to turn free time into restorative me-time.

 

2. A plan establishes clear time expectations for you and your family.

Moms who make self-care a priority don’t wait to FIND time for self-care. They MAKE time. 10 minutes a day is enough – but it is intentional.

Scheduled time is honored by the whole family. You might need a “mom is off duty” sign so your kids know to go to dad. Or you might have designated self-care mornings where the whole family knows not to disturb you for those 10 minutes. If you have small kids, you can trade off mornings with your spouse. You’ll get at least 3 mornings a week.

Without a plan? There will always be laundry to fold, lunches to pack, dishes to wash, hugs to give. And those things will crowd out your self-care.

 

3. A plan eliminates self-care ruts and keeps you motivated.

You may read all this and think “Nah,  I’m good, I’ve got my go-to self-care routine.”  If that’s true, congratulations! But is that routine serving you right now?

I meet lots of women who have their thing (it could be yoga, or running, or bubble baths), and are hesitant to step outside of this box. They don’t want to waste a minute of free time on something that won’t “work.”  I get it. I’ll say it again- time is your most precious resource. You don’t want to waste a minute of it.

Self-care activities that don’t serve you, or fit your life, becomes less a gift and more a duty.

Imagine Grace, an extroverted, stay-at-home mom who ran marathons before kids. Her days at home leave her craving connection. She still thinks of running as her “self-care.” But it’s a battle to lace up her shoes every time.

Grace’s self-care isn’t serving her. She needs a self-care routine that fosters feelings of connection. Simple things like FaceTime with friends or conversations with her spouse.

 

A good self-care plan fills your days with activities that nurture your deepest priorities. 

Watch the FREE Yoga and Diastasis Masterclass!

A Simple Three Step Process To Increase Motivation

A Simple Three Step Process To Increase Motivation

Increase Motivation And Do More Yoga.

When I ask busy moms about what keeps them from a consistent yoga practice, the #1 answer is always time. That’s why all the videos in the brb yoga library are less than 30 minutes long.

But there’s another answer I hear almost as often. One you might have said before too.
“I can’t seem to motivate myself to do yoga.”

This feeling makes perfect sense when you think about the reality of life with kids.

You want to do yoga. You really do. But when you get those few glorious moments of free time you want to do a lot of other things too.

You could:

  • Call back that friend you miss so much.
  • Drink a glass of wine on the porch.
  • Spend some time with your spouse.
  • Read that book you’ve wanted to read for ages.
  • Pluck your eyebrows and cut your toenails (Or am I the only one that finds these incredibly relaxing?).
  • Do yoga

See that? Yoga is on the bottom. That’s not surprising. You’ve got so many other things competing for your limited time.

 

Here’s a simple, 3-step process to increase motivation and move yoga up to the top of your list.

 

1. Define Your Why.

Consider WHY yoga is important to you.

  • How does it change the way you are as a parent? Partner? Person?
  • How does it impact your emotions?
  • How does it impact your body?

Work through these questions. Then decide which of your answers is most important for your life right now?

That’s your WHY. And that’s the reason you’ll make yoga a part of your life.

For example, my “why” for doing yoga is patience. Sure, I get a lot of other benefits from it, but the one benefit that I need on an almost daily basis is patience. One of my client’s “why” is comfort in her body. Yoga reduces her aches and pains and makes her feel better as she moves through her day. That’s what keeps her coming to her mat.

Your “why” will be unique to you.

 

2. Write it Down.

Put your “why” on paper. Make it your screensaver. Post it on the refrigerator. Just put it somewhere you’ll see it. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind.

 

3. Use Your “Why” To Help You Decide What to Do.

When those few moments of free time arrive, and all the options on your list call to you, take a look at your “why”. Often, just revisiting your deeper purpose will move yoga to the top of your list. Sometimes it won’t, and eyebrows and toenails will win. That’s cool too.

 

Try it today. And share yours! I’d love to know what motivates you to do yoga.

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The Secret To Morning Yoga Success

The Secret To Morning Yoga Success

It turns out I’m just like Gwyneth Paltrow.

Remember that movie Sliding Doors? After Gwyneth’s character (Helen) is fired, she heads home, despondent. The pivotal moment occurs as Helen rushes to catch the subway. She approaches the train just as the doors slide shut (hence the movie title). We watch two scenarios unfold.

In the first, she catches the train and arrives home to catch her deadbeat boyfriend cheating. She breaks up with him and builds a fabulous new life.

In the second, she misses the train, doesn’t discover the cheating, and grows discontent.

Every morning I watch myself either make or miss the train. Let me explain, because this isn’t about my husband cheating.

Lately, I’ve been getting up early to do yoga. Like, really early. Before 5am. Before my kids awake.

It’s the only time when no one seeks my attention, and the only time I know my to-do list won’t dominate my thoughts.

So I’ve been on a good stretch lately. But I’m a mom to two young kids, I’m not a morning person, and I’m eternally tired. Every morning I struggle with the decision to get up or to stay in bed. And this is where I watch myself run toward that sliding train door.

If I get up and head upstairs to my yoga mat, I catch the train. My day includes presence and patience.

If I hit the snooze button, and wake up to my lovely, yet demanding children, I’ve missed the train. I’m on track for a day with impatience, distraction, and disconnect.

The days I catch the train end up better for everyone in my house. I’ve started building structure into my days to give me the greatest shot at catching that train.

Here Are The Secrets To My Morning Yoga Success.

 

AT NIGHT, PREPARE FOR THE MORNING:

  • If you plan to do an online yoga class, queue it up on your laptop. brb Yoga makes this step easy.
  • Close all other tabs on your computer so you’re not tempted to check email or Facebook when you wake.
  • Set the laptop next to your yoga mat.
  • Pick pajamas that double as yoga clothes.
  • Put your phone (or alarm clock) across the room to ensure you don’t hit snooze. If you are using your phone, put it in airplane mode.
  • Fill a water bottle with water and ice and set it next to your alarm.

 

IN THE MORNING:

  • Shut off your alarm but keep your phone in airplane mode! The quickest way to miss that train is to see the notifications that popped up during the night.
  • Chug your ice cold water to hydrate and wake up.
  • Stumble onto your mat.
  • Wake up the computer and press play.
  • Do the yoga!

You may have noticed that ALL the mental work happens at night. This is by design.

If you’re going to catch the train and have a good day, you can’t wait until the morning to prepare. Do everything you can so you don’t need to think or make decisions in the morning. To cut the barriers between you and your mat, you need to be on autopilot.

Any other morning yogis out there? How do you make it happen?

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