Internationally recognized yoga teacher and mother of two Janet Stone, who will lead our upcoming Yoga for Moms online course (enroll now and be the first to know when this mom-inspired course launches), is offering YJ readers a series of weekly "mom-asanas" for serenity, strength, and grounding. This week's practice: coping with mom stress.
Why are moms so stressed out? A lot of it boils down to the expectations placed upon us and that we carry around. Expectations of how we are going to be as mothers, how our kids should be, how our partner should be and then is not, how our house is going to be and then is not.
Our attention is also fractured: the baby is crying, our kids are fighting, we're having discord with our spouse or partner, or maybe we're just really PO'd because we got a parking ticket today. It can (and does) get chaotic, and that's the whole point of practicing yoga: developing a central internal reference point that we can go to that is not running away from the drama, but there is something happening outside beyond this dramatic moment.
Ask yourself: When does my stress level peak? Is it feeding time, school prep, getting out the door, and why? From there, try to slow down, simplify, and come up with solutions, for example, keeping paper bags with snacks for the kids in the car.
You also might want to think about NOT doing some of the things that you "have" to do. When you have kids, you have to pick and choose what you want to do and not to, unless you want to miss your life and run around everywhere like a crazy person. This is the whole undertone of yoga: slowing down and realizing that there are more important things, like gazing into your child's eyes. You have to discern in yoga what you do with your life force.
Practice: Make a List
Write down all of the expectations you have/had of what motherhood was going to look like, e.g., you're going to be blissfully happy, you and your partner will agree on everything, your kids will get along beautifully, and write down what the reality actually looks and feels like. Then, see where you can find space between these two realities to step into what is.
Mom-asana of the Week: Wide-Legged Downward-Facing Dog
This pose offers a stable, grounded variation of Downward-Facing Dog. Downward-Facing Dog is a gentle inversion that offer a new perspective. Feel free to warm up with Cat/Cow. From there, curl your toes under and begin to pull your hips back as you straighten your legs into Downward-Facing Dog. Then, step your feet two to three feet apart. You can bring your thumbs to touch with the fingers spread wide and deeply grounded into the earth. Find length in the front and back body and allow the neck and shoulders to find softness.
ABOUT JANET STONE
San Francisco-based yoga teacher Janet Stone started her practice at age 17. A student of Max Strom and meditation teacher Prem Rawat, Stone teaches vinyasa flow at events around the world. Her new kirtan album with DJ Drez, Echoes of Devotion, hit number 1 on iTunes’s World Music chart this year. Stone has two daughters and offers this advice to moms: “Motherhood offers infinite lessons in the realms of surrender, empowerment, grace, mistakes, and patience, and then some more patience—as well as the endless unfurling of transitions and change. Practicing yoga amidst this adventure can support us in myriad ways to find our center.” Learn more about her upcoming course, Yoga for Moms.