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September 10th, 2010

Mama Om: Shedding Light On Yoga For Mamas

By Latham Thomas

Light pours into a pale green room full of manicured plants and bare walls with the occasional Buddha or stick figure drawing mounted in an ornate picture frame. No sight of the phone, computer, or fax machine. All is silent as the cool breeze moves the sheer curtains and makes a faint whistling sound. I lie back over soft bolster, shut my eyes, and begin to breathe- focusing on opening my ribcage, feeling the expansion in my chest, spreading of my collar bones, and the opening of my heart. I turn my palms face up in Hasta mudra: a hand gesture that in yogic tradition reminds us to stay soft and open so that we can receive. This 15 minutes may be the only time I have for myself...but, hey I'll take it.

As a single mother raising a 7 year old boy in New York City, I often find myself entangled in the hustle and bustle of everyday modern city living. Sounds of buses, police sirens, car alarms, and boisterous pedestrians create a symphony of sounds that weave together in vibration....OM...As a yoga practitioner and teacher I am constantly striving to cut away time for myself in the midst of mama duties and career responsibilities. I recently started a pilot series of Mama Meditation hours- guided meditations for moms.

All you need is 5 minutes, a comfortable area to sit in peace and quiet, a nice scented candle, and you're set. Create the space for yourself to relax and focus intentionally on your breathing. Come to a comfortable seated position whether that is in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed in sukhasana, elongate your spine so you are sitting tall and firm on your sits bones. On each inhale draw cool breath in through your nose, and exhale and sigh the warm breath out through the mouth. Do this at least 10 times. With each inhale continue to draw breath in through the nose, and on your exhales allow the breath to exit through the nostrils.

Choose serenity, choose peace, on each inhale, and release stress, tension and anxiety on the exhales. Quiet the mind and the ego- that voice that takes you out of the moment. If complete silence is not your thing, then focus on an affirmation- a positive thought that you can silently repeat as you sit; for example- "I choose balance. I am grounded in the present moment".

When you are ready to inhale, reach the arms overhead, and exhale the hands to your heart. Gently remind yourself throughout the day to stay grounded and balanced- remember when you are holding space for serenity, nothing can shake you from your bliss- not even a bowl of cheerios spilled on the floors you just mopped.

For more info on yoga & guided meditations with Latham visit her website and blog at www.tendershootswellness.com

Follow her on Twitter- @TenderShoots

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