Fitting in exercise with the demands of my family has always been a challenge. Mostly because, until recently, I didn’t enjoy exercising. It wasn’t a priority in my life, so I didn’t make time to participate in it. My thinking around exercise has changed dramatically in the last six months. I now view it as an essential part of my daily life, and a vital ingredient in the management of my anxiety. Without exercise, my overall wellbeing is compromised.
One of my absolute favourite forms of exercise is yoga. Not only is it a fantastic workout, but it combines meditation and relaxation, for a total mind/body experience. I have done yoga on-and-off for many years. This year I have begun to incorporate yoga into my weekly exercise regime. I am still very much a beginner, but already I have experienced many of the documented benefits of yoga.
The benefits of practicing yoga
There are multiple benefits associated with regularly practicing yoga, including:
- Reduced anxiety, and treatment of generalised anxiety disorders
- Treatment of acute and chronic pain
- Reduced lower back pain and joint pain
- Treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Stress management
- Balanced mood
- Treatment of mild-to-moderate depression
- Assistance with pre-menstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms
- Pre-natal yoga has been shown to lower rates of pre-term labour, increase birth weights and reduce pregnancy-related complications. *
After a good yoga class, I feel completely relaxed, my posture seems to improve, and I get a really great workout too!
How to squeeze yoga into your life when you have kids
If you are a mum who would like to find more time to practice yoga, here are some ways to integrate yoga into a daily routine with kids:
- Join a gym with a crèche: I joined a gym earlier this year. It has a great crèche, with friendly and qualified staff, and both my boys love playing there. The gym has group fitness classes on offer, including yoga, pilates, and BodyBalance, which is a mixture of tai chi, yoga and pilates. These ‘mind, body, spirit’ classes are available on most days of the week, and I have been going to the Tuesday morning yoga class every week since I joined. I would recommend finding a yoga class that you enjoy, and a teacher that you connect with, even if it’s only once a week. This will ensure you have correct form, and they also remind you of important things like focusing on the breath. They can also give you options for beginners.
- Get the kids involved: My boys love ‘playing yoga’ with me. They crawl around on the floor, try to copy the poses and lie next to me for relaxation. It might not be the ‘correct’ way to practice, but it is one way of fitting in some gentle yoga when there’s no chance of a break from the kids.
- Make it part of the routine: Some nights I do some form of yoga before bed. The boys are in bed by this time, and it is a peaceful way to end the day. Try incorporating 10 minutes of yoga into your morning or evening routine.
- Online classes: My favourite way of fitting in yoga at home is to plug in my laptop, roll out my mat, and follow along with a free online yoga class. There are plenty on YouTube, my favourite is this channel by DoYouYoga.com, as well as whole websites dedicated to providing free yoga classes to people in their homes.
Other places to get your yoga on:
- Do Yoga With Me
- Free Yoga Videos
- Pop Sugar: This great health website has many yoga sequences for a multitude of goals, from detox to relaxation. Not videos, but photo sequences. Best suited to an intermediate or advanced level.
- Some other websites (like YogaGlo) charge a small fee for access to their collection of videos, but the free classes I have found have been just fine.
For more loveliness to inspire your yoga practice, check out my Yoga Board on Pinterest
Follow Rebecca @ Sunny Mondays’s board Yoga on Pinterest.
Have you included yoga into your exercise regime? Let me know in the comments below.
*The benefits of yoga were discussed in an article by Penman S, Cohen M, Stevens P, Jackson S. Yoga in Australia: Results of a national survey, International Journal of Yoga 2012: 5:92-101
**Image credit: Lyn Tally