Mom-asana: Slowing Down for Better Sleep

These simple yoga and lifestyle tips from Janet Stone will help you get the rest you need.

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 strength, fitness, and grounding at any stage of motherhood. This week’s simple pose will help you slow down and get the rest you need.

Sleep … yes, please! Almost every parent I have met has cited lack of sleep as their greatest challenge. Without adequate sleep, we don’t think so well, we react from our old conditioning, and everything can feel insurmountable. Essentially, we don’t “feel like ourselves” when we’re sleep-deprived. So, what to do? Sleep, of course. But when? How?

Through many years of exploration, I’ve found that most of us want to keep everything going in our lives, even when we are parents. We may still want to keep the social lives we had before babies or feel expectations that couple time would be what it was before we were a trio or a quartet. We are unwilling to say no, to turn devices off, and to be still and slow down. My strongest suggestion to any new parent is to say no to anything that is nonessential and to have times each day when the phones/computers are completely off. If you have a baby at home, turn off your devices and nap with your child. Our bodies release oxytocin when we rest near our babies, hearing their breath and feeling their heartbeat near us again. This well-being hormone actually helps reduce stress, which is key when you’re trying to slow down.

When sleep isn’t possible, try resting. When we take the time to rest, everyone benefits. I know unplugging is not an easy thing to do. We are told from all directions to keep up with everything, stay plugged in, and do everything we were doing before. All while we are also organizing perfect playdates, cooking a million more meals than we ever imagined, and soothing everyone when they’re crying. However, if our culture is not going to give you a break, you will have to take it, and create the vision of parenting and home life that you know will sustain you and your little ones in the years ahead.

Mom-asana of the Week

The pose for this week is a simple drawing in. It can be done in so many ways. One option is to sit, drawing the knees up, thighs close to the torso, wrapping your arms around your legs, and softening your head toward your knees.

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.