I’ve been practicing yoga for over a year now, and it is safe to say it will be a life-long love of mine. As a former gymnast, it is the closest I can come to that joy of back handsprings and handstands and the splits. I think rekindling a fire for the things you loved as a child can bring so much energy and fun back into everyday adult life, and I definitely can use more childlike joy. Whatever your thing was…see if you can reconnect with it.
In Shauna Niequist’s most recent book, Present over Perfect (which is a must read, I think!) she talks about wanting to play more, not just for her kids but for herself. Yoga is play to me. I feel connected with my body, and the amazing thing is a lot of the stress I carried in my shoulders has disappeared with regular weekly classes.
When I first started yoga classes after having my third baby, I was just trying to stay active and moving for an hour in a way that didn’t leave me depleted for the rest of the day with my kids. Gradually my muscles strengthened and I started trying some arm balances. These are the fun, competitive part of yoga for me. I love challenging my body and seeing the progress from week to week. It’s like a game.
At this point, it’s overkill to explain that caring for yourself is an important part of parenting. Most of my job involves self-sacrifice and putting my needs on the back burner to care, clothe, feed, and love my children. It’s an honor and I’ve learned a lot through the years I’ve spent at home with them. Hopefully I’m growing into a more considerate and loving person. But I also feel the aches of holding a nursing baby in one spot for too long, and carrying a too-big toddler who I still long to snuggle, and 4 loads of laundry in one day. In the past, when I’ve gotten the treat of a massage, it often came with a side plate of scolding for carrying so much stress in my shoulders.
Yoga has taken a lot of that tension out of my body and somehow managed to loosen up my body and spirit. While classes at my local Y have been a life saver, I’m going to include some fantastic videos you can use at home if you want to give yoga a try.
Yoga Basics video. If you’ve never done yoga before, start with this series.
30 Minute Vinyasa. I’ve done this video a couple of times and it helps me to stretch and unwind. The length is just right for the end of the day.
30 days of Yoga. See how your body and flexibity can change over the month. Another great choice for beginners.
LuluLemon Class. I love watching teachers to see their form and lululemon has sponsored a lot of fantastic videos.
Unwind your Neck + Shoulders Yoga Practice. This is spa yoga and feels like a massage for your neck and shoulders, where tension builds up in my body. It’s amazing.
PS: The post pregnancy exercise DVD I used after all three babies.
A full review of the Grana activewear is posted here.