Being a mom is a lot of things—challenging, sometimes frustrating and ultimately rewarding. Being a mom also means being extraordinarily busy. Most moms these days juggle work, family and home responsibilities. In addition, they’re expected to manage the “culture” of their families. Moms are caregivers, referees, nurturers and time managers, often for everyone in the family.
Much of the time the last person to benefit from a mother’s care is herself. We’ve all heard that taking care of yourself gives you more energy to take care of others. This is true. When your tank is empty, it’s hard—and joyless—to try to accomplish everything you need to in a busy day.
In an interview with Parvati Magazine, Judith Hanson Lasater, best known for developing and refining Restorative Yoga practice, put it this way:
“Everything is better when you are rested. One thing being tired, depleted and stressed out does is it narrows our perspective. It is so uncomfortable to be in our body and in our mind in those moments, and so when we are caught up with our own discomfort it is like we have blinders on to everyone else’s. We are not generous of spirit in that moment. We have no energy to do for others, to do for ourselves. What we need to do is notice that, understand its causes and conditions, and then take one small step towards resting. Today I am going to rest when I am tired for 5 minutes. Every step, every change is always small, and then there is the last one which is also small but its effects are huge.”
Restorative Yoga, The Gift that Rejuvenates
Restorative Yoga is a practice designed to rest and rejuvenate the body. It does so by using props such as yoga bolsters, yoga blankets, yoga blocks, yoga straps and eye pillows so that your body is completely supported in every pose. This allows you to stay in poses a long time and exert no extra effort, which allows for deep relaxation.
Practicing deep relaxation in this way shifts your body from the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) side of your autonomic nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) side. The sympathetic side of the nervous system is designed to kick in when we’re in danger and we need to flee. Even though most of the time our lives are not in this kind of peril, stress and busyness can shift us into fight-or-flight on a daily basis. This is not sustainable. It saps our energy.
The parasympathetic nervous system should be our default mode.This is where our bodies are designed to function most of the time. By allowing the body to rest deeply, Restorative Yoga facilitates a shift into the parasympathetic nervous system. Restorative Yoga not only provides deep rest, but by practicing yoga while exerting zero effort, we reenergize the body and mind.
Here are some ideas to help your mom rest and rejuvenate with Restorative Yoga:
- Look online to see if there’s a Restorative Yoga class in your area. Then buy your mom a gift certificate for a series of classes.
- If there’s not a Restorative Yoga class close by, research online video classes. Judith Hanson Lasater’s most recent book, Restore and Rebalance: Yoga for Deep Relaxation, is another great option.
- Give your mom the gift of time, whether it’s 10, 20, 30 or more minutes each day to rejuvenate herself. You can even make her a gift certificate to make it official.
- Make sure your mom has the tools she needs to support her practice. Judith and her daughter, Lizzie Lasater, helped us develop a Restorative Yoga Kit with all the essentials for developing a home practice. Of course, you can buy the components separately, especially if your mom already has some of the items in the kit. But if not, there’s a significant discount for buying them together.
Developing a Restorative Yoga practice can help you rejuvenate every day. Even if you have only five minutes to spend on a given day, it’s certainly better than not taking the time. Give your mom a gift that can help her relax and restore every single day.