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Yoga for Moms: How to Make Time for Yoga

When we become parents, we often carry around old expectations about how our yoga practice should look based on our “pre-child” days. But that doesn't mean we have no "time" for yoga.

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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: making time for yoga.

The number one commodity as a parent is TIME. Time is always precious. And then, during the adventure of motherhood, it can feel as if you go into a vortex where time, as you had experienced it before, is rare. There are fewer moments to linger on a thought, to have a conversation that doesn’t get interrupted after half a word, or to take care of your basic needs. One question I often hear from parents is, “How do I make time for yoga when I can’t even find time to take a shower?”

What I’ve noticed over the years of being a parent and creating support for other parents is that there is no transition period to pause and acknowledge the massive shift that occurs when a child enters our lives. Everything changes, but we still carry around old expectations of how our yoga practice should look based upon how it was in our pre-child days. But that doesn’t mean we have no “time” for yoga.

See alsoMom-asana: Reserving Energy, or Making a Don’t-Do List

Ask Yourself: What Constitutes a Yoga Practice?

First, take stock of the moments you do have in a day and what you do with your time. In doing this, it’s important to acknowledge the amount of love and attention that is going toward your child or children, whatever age they may be. This may help you cultivate realistic time frames for the various other parts of your life, including your yoga practice.

Then, ask yourself: What is my deepest intention for my life? Exploring your deepest intentions can help inform your actions, the ways in which you use your time, and how you create space for things that are in service to your life, your vitality, and possibly even your sanity. If one of your deepest intentions is to model a healthy, balanced life for your children with an emphasis on self-love and self-care, then you will want to place time and attention aside to cultivate this modeling. This could be a 15-minute walk in nature that suddenly becomes your “practice,” or 30 minutes of vigorous asanas, or 5 minutes of deep pranayama. As you become more realistic about your time, you may broaden your definition of what constitutes a “practice.” Make these practices doable within the current framework of your life, so you can step off the merry-go-round of feeling guilty about taking too much time away from your kids, then feeling guilty for not taking care of yourself. Remember that a yoga practice only takes minutes. If we stress less about not having enough time, strangely we have more time.

See alsoMom-asana: 3 Practices for Mindful Motherhood

Mom-asana of the Week: Wild Thing (Camatkarasana)

This pose offers an opportunity to explore the openness and space in your own heart. To practice, warm up with simple Sun Salutations. From Downward-Facing Dog, inhale and lift your right leg to the sky. Tip: Keep your toes pointed toward the ground to start. Then, feel the contrast as you begin to open your hip and bend your right knee. Keep your hands deeply connected to the earth and your shoulders evenly balanced. Then, shift your weight into your left hand and roll onto the outer edge of your left foot. Keeping your left hand firmly rooted and left shoulder strong, allow the right foot to drop behind you to the ground outside your left knee as the right arm lifts. You can bring your right hand to your heart and lift your heart into your hand. Find your left hand and right foot and deepen the connection to the earth. This will bring more openness to your heart. If you wish, you can extend your right arm palm up and gently reach it back toward the ground. Return to Downward-Facing Dog and repeat on the left side.

See alsoMom-asana: Slowing Down for Better Sleep

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.