Finding Balance on the Mat
Between taking care of your children, managing your career, and maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner, the struggle to find balance in the everyday is most definitely real. Here, some tips from moms who found their definition of balance on a yoga mat: 1 Don't feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Society puts unnecessary pressure on women to think about everyone and everything else first. But as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” “There are so many expectations on mom to take care of the kids, the house, the husband. But what we often forget is that if you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of another person,” says Joy Jacinto who has been practicing yoga for nine years and is now taking her yoga teacher training.
Joy started doing yoga because she wanted to lose weight. It was part of her company’s health program but she found that it not only strengthened her body, it strengthened her mind as well. An hour on the mat can feel like meditation, a gym workout, and body massage all in one. What mom couldn’t use all of the above?
2 Convenience, consistency but again, convenience. Being a mom is hard work. Sometimes finding a balance is more about logistics than anything else.
“I started yoga because I wanted to lose weight,” says Marge Lazatin, yoga teacher, mother of one, and co-owner of Yoga+ Express Nuvali.
“The class schedule was compatible with my work schedule which made it easier for me to go. Eventually I got hooked on yoga and how it made me feel, but convenience was the most important factor initially.”
Find a studio that works with your schedule and commit to going a few times a week. Weight loss, like anything in life, is all about consistency.
3 Do it for you and your sanity. “Me-time is very important and yoga is a great tool to keep one’s sanity. The more you enjoy how you feel after each practice, the more you’ll look for it and eventually commit to it. The physical benefits will come with each hour spent on the mat anyway. Let’s just say that those extra inches lost will just be icing on the cake,” says Bow Valdez, yoga teacher, and mother of three.
She went to her first yoga class after her husband suggested that she could benefit from the breathing exercises to handle her stressful job. Needless to say, he was right and ten years after that first yoga class, Bow now teaches yoga fulltime and encourages other moms to reap yoga’s benefits.
4 Being tired is not a reason to skip yoga (but you can definitely take it easy). Being a mom is tiring enough as it is that the thought of having to go to a class and physically exert yourself is enough to keep people from even trying. The beauty of yoga is that you only have to push yourself as far as you’re willing to go. Tired? Take it easy and have a gentle practice.
“If you’re tired, you can always adjust the intensity of your yoga practice but never use being tired or sleepy as an excuse to quit”, advises Kim Espiritu, yoga teacher, mother of two, and co-owner of Yoga+ Express Nuvali.
“I used to avoid doing yoga when I was tired but I realized that I actually felt better after I practiced. Yoga has helped me become a more loving, more mindful parent.”
There is no pressure in yoga to be the strongest or the most flexible. Each practice is your own so adjust yourself according to what you need. It’s not one size fits all. There are different kinds of yoga suitable for every person’s ability and preference.
5 Stress will always be there, even after your practice. We all know stress is a dangerous thing. Stress can trigger over-eating, drinking, and anxiety, among others. A mother’s life is never easy and there are a million and one things that moms stress out about. Are the kids okay? How do I excel as a mom and still do well in my career? How do I get rid of the last 10 pounds?
Before you drive yourself mad with all these thoughts, just pause. Take a deep breath. Take time out to get on the mat and be kind to yourself. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation. Yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lower your heart rate. The truth is, everything that causes you stress will still be there after a yoga class but you will just be better equipped to handle them. Try yoga today and see if you can find your balance.
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Yoga+ Express Nuvali is located at Building 4, Solenad 1 Lakeside Evozone, Nuvali, Tagaytay Road, Sta. Rosa, Laguna