A few tips to stay balanced..... AND not lock your kids in the closet!

Tips to stay balanced .........AND not lock your kids in the closet!
As a yoga therapist specializing in adolescence, with 3 kids of my own, people have preconcieved ideas that myself, and my kids, must be extremely healthy and calm!  Well, let me begin with the time that I told my youngest son that if he continued to behave in the manner, I was going to lock him in the closet and turn off the lights!!  Really?  My yoga therapist locked her youngest son in the closet and turned off the lights?  Well, I'll leave that up to your imagination.......... Maybe I didn't turn off the lights! It was safer for all involved!  Not my proudest of moments, but amongst my friends, I did earn mom of the year award!  You might ask who my friends are?!  Well, they are all moms too!  We laugh, love, discipline, cry, drink wine, cook ayurvedic foods for our families, practice yoga and pranayama, and medtation. We balance our lives!  It is important to remember that as we journey in to the practice of yoga it is not about secluding ourself from society and retreating to an ashram to find ourself ( or lose our self!) . 

It is about balance..... moderation.  When I met my husband I described myself as middle of the road.  He completely disagreed with me, but time and time again I have brought our conversations back to " middle of the road " moderation!  So let me share with you the ways I TRY to keep myself balanced and NOT locking my kids in the closet! :)  So, I am a firm believer in yoga and ayruvedic philosophy, but if you've read as much and studied as much as I have, it sometimes feels overwhelming......how can I achieve enlightenment if I can't spend hours of my day practicing?  Here ya go.....My 1 hour basic self care routine ( don't get me wrong...one day I'll  spend hours......after those pesky loves of my life have discovered their own self care routines!) I always allow myself one full hour before the kids wake to take care of myself.  I start my day by .......

  • Tongue scraping ( one of the ancient ayurvedic cleansing routines http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-tongue-scraping),
  • Brush my teeth and potty- ( yes, I'm really talking about going to the bathroom)
  • Drink warm water with honey and lemon -I turn on my kettle and boil some water.  Adding it to my teacup with 1/2 cup cold water, half lemon, pinch of salt, and 1 TBS honey. The rest of the hot water gets added to my neti pot that already has 2/3 cup cold water and 1/4 tsp of salt.  I let me neti water cool while I sip my lemon water.
  • I use my neti pot to cleanse my nostrils-  yep.... nostril cleansing, another one of the ancient ayurvedic cleansing routines! http://www.himalayaninstitute.org/products-publications/neti-pot-product... you may want to check out the demo to avoid very laughable experiences! 
  • Nasya Oil-  I moisturize and protect the nasal passages by using nasya oil http://lifespa.com/ayurvedic-supplement-facts/nasya/ ( there are many ways to apply the oil, but usually I place two to three drops in my hand, coat my pinky finger in oil and......, well....., stick my finger in my nose and coat!) Fun huh?! 
  • Potty ( number 2.... yay... i know this sounds weird, but really YAY!) My lemon water has started my digestion for the day. 

This is the first 15-20 minutes of the hour. I go on to find my mat and lay down (sometimes still wishing I were in bed, but soon that fades!)

I start my yoga practice by finding my breath and checking in with my body. Then I move in to my practice, which varies from day to day, but I'll give you a few basics as medicine for your balance!

So typically I move in and out of the pose on my breath four to six times and then I hold for 4 long slow breaths

  1. Supine Twist- start by lying down on your back with knees bent. Pick your feet up off the floor and bring your knees towards your chest. Lower your knees to the right on exhale, but don't let them touch the ground. On inhale bring your knees back to center. Exhale lower them to the left. Repeat this 4-6 times before relaxing in to the twist and allowing the legs to lower all the way to the ground. Take 4 long slow breaths.
  2. All fours ( hands and knees) to child pose- start on your hands and knees and softly lift your chin while breathing in. On exhale move back in to child's pose by placing your sit bones on your heels, chest to thighs, and forehead to mat. Repeat this 4-6 times then rest in child's pose for 4 long slow breaths.
  3. All fours to down dog- start on your hands and knees and softly lift the chin while breathing in. On exhale tuck your toes under and lift your hips up towards the ceiling. Repeat this 4-6 times then hold your down dog for 4 long slow breaths.
  4. Chair Pose- Inhale raise the arms over the head-Exhale and bend the knees sitting back in to the chair......... Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  5. Warrior I- Inhale raise the arms over the head-Exhale straighten the front leg and lower the arms...... Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  6. Triangle-Exhale extend the arm out-Inhale move back to center......Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  7. Locust- Inhale lift the arms and legs-Exhale and lower...........Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  8. Bridge-Inhale raise the hips- Exhale lower........Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  9. Knees to chest-exhale hug the knees in-Inhale move the knees out..... Repeat 4-6 times then hold
  10. Savasana (lie and rest deeply for total integration)
  11. Pranayama...one of my favorites that is suited for a stressful or busy life ( what mom doesn't have that!)

Inhale  Retain  Exhale  Pause
6            3           6           3     x 3
6            3           8           2     x 3
6            3          10          1     x 3
6            3          12          0     x 3

From that point I sit focusing on my breath until it's time to start my day.  It varies from 5-15 minutes. 

I always set a timer on my phone when I start my practice to end when it's time to wake those pesky ones I love!  One hour may seem like a lot of time, but I promise you it's worth it!  You should start by adding one thing at time.  Actually I recommend that!  When you truly want to change it should be slow. Try it!  ONE THING AT A TIME!!! 

There is no perfect place, except the place within, where you feel the waves of your breath, loosing the confines of your body, motherhood, profession, and marital status.  The place where you begin to understand what it's all about, and emerge at the end of the hour ready for your day......... hopefully not to lock your youngest son in the closet!!!!