I have two kids and between them and acupuncture I usually am on a nonstop roller coaster ride from sun up to sun down. When I was single and my time was all mine the sun would slowly draw me from my bed and I would often take 2 or so hours to meditate and do a full yoga routine. After that I would have a steamy breakfast while watching the morning news. Fast forward to life with kids: I wake up, get breakfast on the table, make sure the kids are fed, dressed and not hurling things across the room. After that I say goodbye to my husband grab the trash and get on my bicycle to take the kids off to daycare before getting on the train myself. And poof the two hours I used to take for myself are gone.
I am not a yoga instructor but I am a devoted practitioner. So instead of giving up my once treasured morning routine I decided to condense it. The result is what I call easy morning yoga for busy mothers in Japan. I searched the internet for a quick series that would wake up my body and the mind in as little time as possible while gently stretching my spine and the most frequently used muscles in my body.
I don’t remember exactly where I found this routine but I do know that it is really great. So great that I even sold my husband on it. We practice this series almost every day before the kids wake up. If the kids are up I alter it a bit so that my 3 year old can participate (usually by crawling on my back) and my 7 month old can have a little mommy time on the floor. I usually perform it right on my futon, but I recommend using a mat on the floor if you have a western style bed. If you have any type of health issue(s) please consult with your health practitioner before starting the practice.
Breath: In my novice opinion breath is the most important part of yoga. Take 3-5 breaths for each pose and really focus on gently stretching your body with the breath. Let your breath lead you through the poses and don’t force it! If your breathing becomes erratic that means you are pushing too much and could possibly cause yourself injury. Relax and accept what your body can do today, right now.
1) Child’s Pose (Balasana)
2) Cow Pose (Bitilasana)
3) Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
4)Shoulder Blade Stretch
5) Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
6) Child’s Pose (Balasana)
7) A moment of quiet:
After you’ve completed the series take 3-5 minutes to meditate or sit quietly. If you don’t have any meditation experience I recommend placing your focus on a spot below your nose and above your upper lip. When your focus wanders, acknowledge the thought and then gently place your awareness back on a place below your nose. After 5 minutes of quiet time take a moment to set your intention for the day. Mine is usually something like: to calmly intake anything that comes my way. Or, to remember to breath even through difficult circumstances. Whatever it is remember it and try to reflect and act on that intention throughout the day.
A quick note on being quiet:
In my house the kids don’t get timeout, mommy does. Try a variation of the above meditation whenever you feel overwhelmed or out of it. Just take a breath, focus on a place underneath you lip and remind yourself of what you intention was for the day. Take another breath and relax your shoulders. Enjoy this yoga for busy mothers in Japan.
Heather Maya Suzuki