Parents often find themselves between chaos and glory in today’s complicated world, especially with the kick-off of the new school year. Amidst the inevitable sleep deprivation, tantrums, and responsibilities—parents also thrive on cuddles, imagination, and family life. While parenting today is hectic, grounding in gratitude can help calm the soul. offer more contentment, and let parents experience more peace. Yoga teacher Reanna Shaw shows us how with this soothing, empowering sequence.
A regular yoga practice can teach us to slow down and breathe deeply, which creates space for observing what is truly important to us. This opens the door to gratitude and finding more contentment and peace.
A parent’s practice can also positively impact their children. At any given moment, children can feel our emotions. When adults embody calm, a sense of contentment, and peace, kids are more likely to feel the same.
As you approach this centering yoga sequence, take a moment to notice how you feel, physically and mentally. Now focus your attention on your breath. Try breathing slowly and deeply. As you slowly flow through these postures, continue to practice your deep yogic breathing, and feel your body, mind, and breath align.
Try grounding yourself in gratitude as you arrive in each pose. With the warm and sturdy Earth beneath you, identify something specific that you feel grateful for, and reflect on your gratitude.
Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Poses)
Warm-up with a few rounds of Cat and Cow Pose flow. From Tabletop (all fours), stack your joints: place your wrists under your shoulders, and align your knees under your hips. On your inhalation, lead with your heart and arch your back in Cow Pose. On your exhalation, round your spine toward the ceiling as you draw your belly up and in for Cat Pose. Repeat this flow for 4-8 rounds.
see also An Energy Charging Yoga Warmup
Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Sink your hips back toward your heels and lengthen your arms forward. You can place your forehead down on the ground, or on a block for more support. Soften your shoulders away from your ears, rotate your armpits toward your body, and gently press your chest toward the earth. Hold Child’s Pose for 5 breaths.
see also Find Comfort in Child’s Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)
Keep your elbows and knees slightly bent and send your hips upward and back. Bend your knees enough to feel your tailbone move toward the sky and your lower back relax. Ease your shoulders away from your ears, rotate your armpits toward each other, and gently shine your heart toward the floor. Engage your deep core muscles, by drawing your belly button inward toward your spine, to bring more lightness to your pose. Hold Down Dog for 5 breaths.
see also Dig Deeper in Down Dog
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward-Facing Dog Pose)
From Downward-Facing Dog, take a vinyasa: flow forward into Plank Pose, then lower down halfway to Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose), hugging your elbows toward your midline as you keep your chest open. To push into Upward-Facing Dog, gently draw your shoulders away from your ears, flip onto the tops of your feet, and scoop your heart forward as you arch your back. Take a moment in this heart-opening pose to observe your gratitude. Hold for 5 breaths.
see also Defining Vinyasa
Thread the Needle Pose
Return to Child’s Pose. Get comfortable in this shape, then thread one arm under your chest (your palm faces upward toward the sky). Gently draw your shoulders away from your ears. You can relax your forehead down on the ground, or on a block for more support. Relax across your upper back, and release the space between your shoulder blades. Feel the earth supporting you and ground yourself in gratitude. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
see also Straighten Out Your Slouch
Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
From Child’s Pose, align your knees under your hips, and begin to slowly crawl your hands forward. Allow your heart to melt toward the earth. To experience more ease in this pose, you can shift your hips slightly back. Notice your heartbeat in your chest, and the vibration of the earth beneath you. As time slows down, appreciate all that you are grateful for, and feel grounded in your gratitude. Hold for 5-8 breaths.
If your chest doesn’t reach the floor (common!), try using a yoga blanket to support you in this pose.
Virasana (Hero Pose) Variation
Hero’s Pose is the ultimate pose for parents. Take an easy seat and breath in fresh air. Bring your left leg forward. Bend your left knee and bring your left shin across your yoga mat (your left foot may gently brush up against your right knee or thigh). Bend your right leg. If you want to go deeper in this pose, hinge at your waist and fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or stack your fists and rest your forehead on your hands. You can also place a yoga block, bolster, or blanket under your forehead. Be as gentle with yourself. Hold for 5-8 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
see also Give Yourself Props in Hero Pose
Try this yoga bolster to support you in this pose.
Savasana (Corpse Pose)
Wind down your practice by moving to your back. Relax here for 5-8 minutes. Or try lying on each of your sides for 2-4 minutes per side. Live in your gratitude.
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