I tag nearly all of my Instagram posts with #yogamom. Sometimes they are photos of my kids doing yoga, or photos of me doing yoga, other times just photos of my kids doing anything...or even of the food I make for my family. Why do they all get the #yogamom tag? Because, honestly, being a yogi plays a large part in my parenting.
Not that I am a guru of healthful, patient parenting who does asana with my children each morning. But there are so many ways that my yoga practice makes me the mom that I am. Here are some of them.
1. It Promotes Healthy, Mindful Eating for Me and My Family
I tag my food with #yogamom because being a yogi informs the way I cook. My family gets treats and I don’t keep things off limits, but we try to nourish our bodies with the foods we eat and we talk about how that works.
I like to know where my food comes from and how it is fueling me. It inspires me to shop mindfully and to feed my family with foods that are helping them live their lives.
2. It Builds Endurance
If I can hold Tree pose, Navasana, or headstand just by focusing and breathing, I can endure the most ridiculous tantrum, the whiniest begging for new things at the store, or the most frustrating math homework.
Knowing that my mind and body have the endurance to hold difficult poses or sit in meditation helps me to get through the difficult parts of parenting my two boys.
3. It Teaches and Gives Me Patience
Probably one of the biggest ways that my yoga practice plays into my mothering is in the patience it gives me. I am reminded of this most when I DON’T have it.
If I skip meditation in the morning for several days (or weeks), or I don’t cultivate my personal practice by getting to classes or practicing asana at home, I lose my patience with my kids much more quickly and easily. I can’t get through those repetitive complaints and requests without losing it myself and yelling at the kids.
4. It Helps Me Become More Present
I am constantly teaching my students (children and adults) the importance of being present; of experiencing the moment we are in right now without dwelling on what has already happened, or worrying about what might be to come.
Being present is difficult, especially as a mom with many things going on at any one time. But it is also so very, very worth it. Being present with your children is a gift. It is not always possible, but finding some moments of presence with family each day is an immeasurable gift.
5. It Teaches Me the Power of the Breath
I am also often extolling the virtues of the breath to my students. Breath can get you through a difficult pose, it can change your mindset or your mood, it can help you run a marathon, or walk into a difficult interview. It also helps to link you to the people around you.
One of the biggest tools I use as a parent—and as a human being—is a deep breath at that moment when you need to cut the tension and reset. A nice, deep breath can stop an argument between siblings, end a crying jag, or refresh the mind of a stressed and overwhelmed mom.
The control of breath that I have gained from my yoga practice is maybe the most valuable thing I take with me into every aspect of my life, especially my interactions with my kids.
Yoga has many virtues, and I know I'm biased since it's also my profession. But finding my yoga practice when becoming a mother was certainly a gift. My life as a yogi and my life as a mom are one and the same, and the tools that yoga gives me help me to parent to the best of my ability. For this and so many other reasons, I’m so grateful to be a #yogamom.
Image credit: Drinie Aguilar