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. First up: Strength-asana.
As a yoga teacher and a mom of fourth-grade and seventh-grade daughters, I define strength as an inner and outer rootedness, a kind of power that nourishes inward and emanates outward. I’m looking for a strength that comes from a still place deep within. This form of strength requires a tremendous amount of TRUST—in ourselves, in our capacity (not unlike birthing) to expand and make space for a new being, in our ability to be ready but calm in so many moments that call on our reserves. With trust, we move into places unattended to in our roles as caretakers. We build from the inside out, and almost every action of strength comes from a strong center.
How does a woman who may be struggling with feeling tired and weak, after taking time for much-needed recovery after giving birth, come back into strength? This is what we’ll explore throughout our time together. It’s not an overnight snap of the fingers but rather a commitment to self-love and self-care. This can come in the form of a commitment to a steady, grounding asana practice; a meditation practice; or even, simply, a rest practice.
Writing Practice: What does strength mean to you?
Now that you know what strength means to me, let’s explore: What does it mean to you? Take a moment and write down what this word brings up, what visions, other words, hopes. Now, take your individual notion of strength and bring it into your body.
Strength-asana: Floating Padmasana (Lotus Pose)
This week, I chose Floating Lotus Pose (aka Tolasana) as our "strength-asana." Floating Padmasana represents strength, because it calls on the engagement of the full body, just as parenting calls upon the fullest self. Even as strong arms hold me up, my heart is open, just as parenting asks us to find strength in openness.
To start, especially if this pose is new to you, begin in a cross-legged position, with one block alongside each hip. If Padmasana is accessible for you, find that expression, but you can also play with this pose in Sukhasana (Easy Pose). Place your hands on the blocks and press downward into them to straighten your arms. As you do, allow the breath to move around the heart and create space between your neck and shoulders. Engage your core to keep your legs at a 90-degree angle to your torso. The lift comes from the core, so if you find your shoulders hunching, come back down, relax them, and come up again, keeping that sense of ease in the upper body. If you are in Sukhasana, you may want or need to leave the bottom leg on the ground. If you find the pose easy with blocks, experiment with removing the blocks and trying it with the hands on the ground.
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.