Morning yoga practice is that sacred time when you nurture your body, mind, and spirit. Over years of practice, you likely go on to include meditation, breathing practices, mantra, mudras, journaling, and even intentional dietary nourishment into your morning routine. All of these practices together nourish you with the energy and fortitude you need to move through your day. Unbroken daily practice for weeks can infuse your life with focus, skillfulness, vitality, and peace of mind. This is until you become a mother.
Then, what used to be a sacred time turns into no free time. Your daily practice is bound to decline and be skipped. Sometimes, you’ll go entire months without practice. Getting back on track can seem unattainable even with a sweet baby, let alone a screaming one! There is no way to find 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep or even 8 minutes without distraction to go into your zen mode. Months of no consistent practice becomes a year, and by then, you start to experience adrenal fatigue. It might take you longer to realize that your long-lost daily practice is calling out to you. While many feel it, few can answer. Sometimes, there is no way to return to that luxurious, long hour of zen you enjoyed before becoming a momma. This is when you have to take action: you have to design a new practice.
Here are a few tips for cultivating a practical, ongoing daily practice while progressing through early and later motherhood. This morning routine can help you survive and thrive amid raising children and enduring physical and emotional struggles we mommas all face and must surmount – one way or another. So, here are 7 proven ways to restart your practice.
1. Start Your Day Well: Rise Before The Kids Wake Up
This is the only chance mothers have to carve out a block of calm, unspoiled daily clock time. But you’ll have to commit to going to bed earlier than you’d normally like to (this gets much easier after you start doing it). An early morning practice is also incredibly helpful in igniting your day with positive energy, momentum, and with a solid physical foundation on your feet.
Schedule your wake-up time 15 minutes earlier to complete your initial rise and shine routine.
An added benefit is the moment of a quiet characteristic of all early mornings, gifting you an environment naturally free of distraction and noise. If you need to, get up very early to avoid other early risers and then go back to bed later. That’s completely fine, too.
2. Stay Hydrated
We mommas move all day, often losing self-awareness of subtle changes in our physical needs – like thirst. And staying sufficiently hydrated is of utmost importance to live healthily. So, make sure you are hydrated. If you haven’t been able to, here are two sure-fire ways to hydrate yourself adequately:
- Eat more raw foods (in all edible categories), which will increase your levels of hydration naturally without actually drinking regular, pure water.
- Drink pure water regularly throughout the day. This means you’ll have a new habit to learn that is easy to avoid at first. If you don’t like drinking plain water (many people don’t), then make your own natural health and spa water (without added sugar) to create a more flavorful routine. Remember, if your tap water is unfiltered or not so pure, avoid reverse osmosis or distilled water. Instead, opt for mineral and natural spring waters.
There are many benefits of making tasty waters with healthy ingredients (e.g., pure water with organic lemon juice or cucumber water). They help your digestive system absorb the water, which otherwise can be easily shunted to the kidneys for elimination if your mineral levels are not balanced. Also, healthy waters can be easily made at home, by the pitcher or glass, for pennies and without the $ 150 spa fee.
3. Exercise Regularly
Incorporate yoga asanas (postures) into your morning practice to gently wake your body and mind. Begin with simple standing poses to elevate your heart rate, circulate blood, balance hormone levels, and de-stress. Exercising stimulates blood flow to all extremities, nourishes your organs, and helps you build stable energy for the day ahead. Start with an 8-minute routine and slowly take it from there.
4. Meditate Every Day
Meditation has many priceless benefits. It can be the secret weapon every mom can whip out at any time to get into a nonreactive state and to increase patience, compassion, and awareness. A consistent meditation practice also decreases baseline levels of stress hormones. Find a comfortable seat on the floor or a chair and simply be in the moment for 5 minutes or more. Visualization techniques can also help you.
5. Visualize And Journal Your Achievements
We spend a lot of time thinking mostly about the things that need to be done. Even if we don’t, they’re thrust in our face every day. But seldom do we grant ourselves the joy of visualizing the end results of these accomplished responsibilities on any given day, be it happier, healthier children or a household maintained intact. So, start by visualizing the desired end results and write them down. For example, figure out your top 3 milestones for the day.
Similarly, we rarely write to release and align our feelings. Once you get used to this habit, if a day goes by without journaling, you’ll feel as though you’re being tossed about on a sea of emotions without a map. Questions will start to plague you. “Where am I? What am I doing here?” Journaling brings clarity to feelings and commitments. Answer these questions: How do I feel now? How do I want to feel? Start and end your day with journaling and you’ll see the positive changes it makes in your day. Keep it simple.
Cultivating awareness of how you breathe is the first step in training yourself to breathe optimally. We breathe without stopping 24/7/365, so there’s always an immediate opportunity to practice this awareness. Also, breathing is a vital element in yoga asana and meditation practices. So cultivating greater awareness of your breathing has multiple benefits.
Simple awareness of your breath brings a greater flow of the vital life energy (prana) circulating throughout your body. It is also a great way to prep for your exercise and meditation practice. Before starting either, enjoy 10 mindful breaths and feel the difference in your practice.
7. Normalize Your Diet
Of course, your best diet depends on your condition and evolving preferences. Pregnant and lactating mommas should eat whenever they’re hungry and not worry too much about what they’re eating, as long as they are eating out of real hunger and not to derive emotional comfort (though there is nothing wrong with it). However, if your diet makes you feel like you’re on a roller coaster of energy highs and lows, or you often get hungry, then consider skipping breakfast, continue your overnight fast, and make lunch your first meal of the day.
Eating sufficient protein and healthy fats (as many omega 3s as omega 6s) while avoiding a sugary, carb-loaded first meal will also help normalize your insulin levels (reduce the crazy energy spikes and crashes) throughout the day. If you don’t suffer from insulin insensitivity and such unstable energy symptoms, then proceed with your regular routine. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, supplements, medication, and whatever else is essential for your optimal well-being – your diet is working well for you!
If you have a similar or slightly different morning routine that works out for you, share it with us and tell us your story.