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A few weeks ago, a friend asked me about yoga. “I don’t know anything about it,” she said. I was very surprised – I thought everyone knew about yoga and the benefits it can provide a stressed out mom!
My love of yoga started when I had a job with a reduced fee gym membership. I was really excited because the gym had lots of classes, and two offerings were something I’d been interested in for a long time. The first was Tai Kickboxing and the second was Yoga. In fact, they offered about 12 sections of yoga, each with a slightly different variation.
It was then I learned the first thing I loved about yoga: It has so many options! In fact, there are 20 different types of yoga for all your needs. For example, you can do hot yoga (Bikram), which is yoga done in a room that is heated 95-100 degrees which can help you lose weight. Another type is Iyengar, named for the yoga master who developed this practice. Iyengar is designed to bring your body into alignment and often requires props for your routine. You can also do yoga as a spiritual technique or leave that aspect out like I do, and just use yoga to help destress and detox your body.
USING YOGA TO DESTRESS AND DETOX YOUR BODY
Like I said, yoga can be a great help to stressed out moms like us, who are raising kids with disabilities. Here is what yoga can do for you:
1. Yoga Teaches You How To Breathe and Relax
We all know how to breathe, right? Well, apparently, I didn’t. I’d workout and get so winded that I would turn red, from head to toe. The first time I took that kickboxing class, the instructor was worried if I was ok because I was so out of breath!
From my yoga classes, I realized that I was not breathing deeply enough to pump all the oxygen I needed to my body, causing me to pant. As I learned to breath properly through yoga instruction, I figured out how to breathe during my high impact workouts. Before long, I mastered both classes.
My yoga classes also ended with a deep relaxation session. We would lie flat, relaxing our muscles, for up to 5 minutes, breathing out all the smallest bits of tensions from our bodies. I know some people fall asleep this way, but for me it was about being present in my body and acknowledging what I had to do with each breath. This practice is so relaxing I use it when I can’t get to sleep.
2. Yoga Is Good For Your Back And Posture
Have you seen that Facebook meme about the elderly lady who was bent over and a few weeks of yoga straightened her posture? Well that can happen! When I started yoga, I was unable to look over my right shoulder. My head just wouldn’t go that far, and I didn’t even KNOW that I had that problem until I was working the poses. Millimeter by millimeter, I met the challenge until could turn my head completely to the right.
3. Yoga Makes You Limber
When I started to do yoga, I was “lucky” because the one I happened to choose to fit my schedule was a perfect fit: Hatha Yoga. This practice is low impact and stresses the importance of doing as much as you can, extending a little more each time. The first few classes I panicked because everything was challenging. The instructor, though, wasn’t worried. She gently helped me adapt the poses properly and encouraged me to push my limbs and muscles a little further each class until I was able to do more myself.
4. Yoga Is The Workout You Can Come Back To
We all go through periods where working out has to be on the back burner. For a while, I stopped doing yoga altogether. Then I went to an event that hosted a yoga practice…and it all came right back. It was like muscle memory – my body knew exactly what to do. As soon as I got into the poses, I was able to push myself further – just a little, as my first instructor had taught me – and get back into the practice easily. It’s a very forgiving way to exercise, suitable for any age and any level.
5. Yoga Can Help You Detox Your Body
In addition to reducing stress and improving circulation, yoga can also help you to detox. The right pose can stimulate the digestive system if you are working on a cleanse or eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet. Always remember to slowly ease into a pose at a level you can handle, in order not to hurt or strain yourself. I push myself to make tiny improvements each time I try. (NOTE: It’s important to make sure your doctor or healthcare provider allows you to do yoga.)
How To Do Yoga In Your Home
One thing that’s great about yoga is that it’s so accessible. There are so many ways to get a yoga practice (online workouts, a good gym chain, a local instructor) and your kids can do it with you too. Here’s what you need:
- A yoga mat or a carpeted floor.
- Loose fitting clothes that you can move in. No need for shoes.
- A yoga routine that suits you. I recommend starting with Hatha yoga.
- A clear space a bit bigger than your yoga mat to do your routine without hitting anything or breaking your rhythm.
- No distractions for the length of the program. That means, turn off your phone! You’ll need quiet to concentrate on your breathing.
Now start your routine. A good instructor will move you through each pose, explaining how to position each part of your body and how to breathe. Like any other exercise, you’ll start with a warm up and many yoga practices end with deep relaxation. If you simply want to reduce your stress levels, you can try these 5 poses for beginners that can help restore your balance.
For moms like me who are raising kids with disabilities, we need simple, easy ways to reduce our stress and yoga is an easy way to do that. After all, less is more. Rather than be overwhelmed by high impact, exhausting workouts that you are likely to quit, yoga allows you an easier way to stay healthy and destress. You’ll feel successful with your workout because it employs simple poses that can create balance in your body and life.
Balanced Body, Balanced Skin and Hair
While you are working on balance physically and internally, what about the outside? Your skin is your largest organ but have you considered whether or not it’s balanced? I recently spoke to an herbalist who taught that the top layer of skin is actually your biome, that layer of bacteria that lies on top of your skin. She stressed the importance of maintaining healthy skin bacteria. That top layer of skin impacts your whole body’s health. Unfortunately, we are so inundated with products that promise “healthier looking” skin that we don’t know who to trust. Plus, the chemicals in everyday soaps and shampoos may actually harm your skin’s bacteria, which is its first layer of defense.
Mother Dirt can help you maintain a balanced microbiome on your skin, making it look and feel better. This company has created the first line of products that were specifically developed to nurture the good bacteria of the skin!
Mother Dirt is not soap, but a natural solution designed to support your skin’s healthy bacteria. Their products contain no preservatives or other chemicals and, instead of destroying all your good bacteria, they focus on keeping your skin healthy. I noticed after only a few washing using the their Shampoo that my hair felt clean rather than covered in products meant to do something. It just felt like my own hair under my hands, and it was easy to style.
Mother Dirt products make it easy to maintain balanced skin and hair as you work towards a more balanced life. The cleanser smooths on wonderfully, lathering up your face as you work it into your pores. The mist is refreshing and the moisturizer finalizes your skincare regiment, leaving your face smooth – not greasy or dried out.