By 9 am on Sunday, I’d lost count of the number of times my son called for me. “Mom, look!” “Mom, come here.” “Mom, where’s the remote?” If I were to stack Legos on top of one another, adding a new piece every time I was beckoned during the day, the stack would grow into a tower capable of reaching the moon by dinnertime.
All day long I’m bombarded with noise; a cacophony that only stops when the kids are up to no good (and at that point, it’s my turn to be the loud one). Aside from nap and the occasional screen time, I spend my day surrounded by demands for attention and snacks. It’s exhausting and hectic, and it leaves me in a state of constant angst.
But at some point in the day, after a long list of thankless, soul-crushing tasks, the kids go to bed, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
After I’ve made dinner, served it, and the kids threw half of it on the floor. I usually miss a few crumbs during clean-up and that, folks, is why we have an “ant problem”.
After I’ve coerced my toddler into picking up his toys and chased him around with a toothbrush until one of us (him) gives up.
After those little angels have been bathed and I’ve mopped up all the bubbles they spilled out of the tub in the process.
After I’ve wrangled the kids into their pajamas, which I would liken to putting skinny jeans on an eel in terms of sheer difficulty.
Yoga for Rest & Relaxation
When all this is done, I need the “mom” ing to stop. I need the absence of all sounds which originate outside of my body. I need to hear my lungs capture air and set it free again. I need to form and contemplate my thoughts and be released from the prodding of sweet (and often sticky) little hands.
I need yoga, and you probably do too. It’s part meditation, part stretching, and part exercise. It’s a little peace, a little quiet, and a little warmth. It’s a sprinkle of empowerment, a reminder of my own strength, and a brief but powerful connection to the universe. I know that last part sounds a little woo-woo, but of all the things I’ve tried to help soften the sharp, sometimes agonizing corners of motherhood, yoga wins every time.
5 Best Yoga Poses to Try
Don’t let the “easy” factor of these poses fool you. The truth is, you don’t need to twist yourself up like a pretzel to reap the benefits of yoga. These simple poses work even if you aren’t flexible or are a brand new yogi.
Like any exercise, yoga is not without risk, so be cautious if you have any health conditions or injuries. And don’t forget the golden rule of yoga: if a pose doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.
#1: Mountain Pose
Don’t let the simplicity of this pose fool you. When done correctly, mountain pose can improve your posture and tone your belly. Winning!
Stand up as tall as you can with your feet together. Hold your arms slightly away from your body with your palms facing forward. Roll your shoulders back – no hunching allowed! Engage your core, arms, and thighs until you feel like a badass. Try holding the pose for a few minutes before letting go.
The great thing about mountain pose is that you can do it pretty much anywhere without a yoga mat. It’s a great pick-me-up when your energy is low, or you just need to clear your head.
#2: Extended Child’s Pose
If you need to tune out the world (or just the sound of your kids fighting), this stress-relieving pose will do it. Pro tip: since your forehead will end up on the floor, choose your space wisely. There’s nothing like a Cheeto crumb to the eye to kill the vibe.
Start by kneeling on the floor (or mat) with the tops of your feet laying flat. Keep your big toes together, but bring your knees a little bit further than hip-width apart. Keeping your butt on your heels, reach forward as far as you can and rest your forehead on the ground. After you’ve held the pose for a minute or so, try creeping your fingers forward a bit more for a deeper stretch.
#3: Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose
The key to this pose is staying in it for 5-20 minutes, so make sure you have enough time carved out before you start. Haha, I know.
You’ll want to grab two blankets. Fold one up and put it 8-12 inches from the wall. The other blanket will go under your head once you’re settled into the pose.
The easiest way to get into this pose is to start by lying on your side and then swing your legs up the wall as you roll onto your back. The folded up blanket should be under your sacrum (the spot where your lower back meets your pelvis), and your legs should be touching the wall from your butt to your heels.
Having your legs elevated like this is great for circulation, and this pose can also help boost energy and alleviate lower back pain.
#4: Easy Pose
Criss-cross applesauce! The way we all used to sit in school when we were young turns out to be a really popular yoga pose. I’ve taken hundreds (if not thousands) of yoga classes over the years, and I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t include this pose at least once.
The key to getting the benefits of this pose is sitting up straight and tall. It can be surprisingly difficult to hold this pose correctly for more than a minute or two, especially if you spend a lot of your time sitting on the couch (I’m guilty of this one). If you have a blanket or towel handy, fold it up and sit on it, because raising your pelvis makes this pose easier.
When we sit cross-legged, we tend to pull our heels in, but don’t do that. Your thighs and shins should form a triangle instead so that you can see the floor or mat in the space between them. Roll your shoulders back and rest your hands on your knees.
This pose is perfect for strengthening your back and calming your brain.
#5: Corpse Pose
Corpse pose tends to happen at the end of every yoga session. Unlike every other yoga posture, this one requires total relaxation. For us moms who are used to springing into action at a moment’s notice, letting go can be rather challenging.
My best advice for nailing this pose is to take mindful breaths, close your eyes, and focus on nothing. The tendency to tense up our muscles—at least a little bit—can be hard to overcome. Start at your head and work your way down to your toes, focusing on each body part one at a time, making sure you are completely relaxing your muscles.
Stay in corpse pose for at least a few minutes to get the full benefits, which include reducing blood pressure, calming the body, and reducing stress.
Namaste, mamas. Which yoga pose is your favorite? Have any comments or questions? Leave them below!