• Nicole Dake

Yoga for Physical & Mental Wellness

Updated: 2 days ago

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Starting a daily yoga practice, for as little as 10 minutes a day, can help increase physical and mental wellness.

As busy moms, we don't always think we have time to do things for ourselves. That is partly the reason I started yoga, since it combines exercise with meditation. Both had been recommended to me as coping strategies for the Post-Partum Anxiety I had been experiencing. I didn't think I had time to do both, so I decided I would try something that combined both into one practice.

Two and a half years later, I never realized that yoga would become such a focal point of my life. Yoga is more than a type of exercise, it is a lifestyle. I love it, and I love the person that it has helped me become.

Practicing Yoga

Yoga is called a practice, because it acknowledges that we aren't perfect.

River, my 4 year old, likes to do yoga with me in the mornings sometimes. The other day our class had us doing chair pose with a prayer twist and she said it was too hard.

I told her it was ok, and that the teacher had shown a modification of the regular chair pose, and I knew she could do that.

I asked her if she knew why doing yoga was called a practice. She didn’t, but you know, she is 4.

I explained that yoga is called a practice because we aren’t perfect. We get a little better every day, and eventually we learn to do harder things.

I told her, I can’t do the hardest version either or take the bind like our teacher. I usually do the medium version of each pose.

She liked that.

Life is a lot like yoga. We can focus on our breath. Relax into things, and improve little by little.

I like to teach my kids that we don’t have to strive for perfection. Instead, we can focus on getting a little better every day.

That is what I love about yoga. It meets you where you are, while helping you become more connected with yourself, and more accepting of who you are. As someone who struggles with self-acceptance, this has been important for me.

Mom and child doing yoga together.
Mom and River Doing Yoga

Health Benefits of Yoga

According to Johns Hopkins University, (9 Benefits of Yoga | Johns Hopkins Medicine), some of the benefits of yoga include:

  1. Improved Strength, balance and flexibility

  2. Back pain relief

  3. Eases arthritis symptoms

  4. Benefits heart health

  5. Relaxes you to help with sleep

  6. Contributes to more energy and better moods

  7. Helps to manage stress

  8. Connects you with a supportive community

  9. Leads to better self care

These benefits can be found even if you are a beginner with yoga, and can help people of all ages.

Getting Started as a Beginner

When I started doing yoga, I was a busy mom with a baby that didn't sleep through the night. I was physically and mentally exhausted, and not losing the baby weight. I had heard from some girls that I worked with that yoga was a great easy exercise and even would help with my post-partum anxiety.

I didn't think I had time in my schedule to sign up for an hour-long class at a gym, so I started off with easy videos on Youtube that I could do at home. All I had to buy was a yoga mat!

There are tons of great yoga videos out there, and tutorials on how to do different poses. If you follow me on instagram, I link to them pretty regularly.

This is the first yoga video that I used when I was starting out. I think Sarah Beth does a great job explaining things that is easy to follow.

Learning yoga has helped me learn to be gentle with myself, and to listen to my body. Every day, our body has different needs. Some days, I want a fast, cardio practice. Other days, I want a slow, gentle stretch. I have learned to accept that it isn't sustainable to push my body to its limits every day. Sometimes, I need to slow down and rest.

Yoga has helped me to learn the value of self-acceptance. I think that is something that many of us, as moms, struggle with. We always put our kids and family first (not that it's a bad thing!), but we neglect ourselves in the process. Mom is a part of the family too, and we are deserving of the same care we provide our children.

Hopefully, you will enjoy your yoga journey as much as I am enjoying mine so far! Let me know in the comments what you like about yoga!