Parents: they come in all shapes and sizes but the one thing they have in common is busyness! There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, let alone take a few minutes to stand in ‘pose of a tree’. The experts agree – yoga is something you should be doing. 15 million American adults have done yoga at least once in their lifetime, and the reports across Europe and Australasia tell similar stories. Here are 5 types of parents that should be finding time for a few salutations to the sun and some downward-facing dog.
The Busy Parent
Got no time? Then yoga is perfect for you. One of the advantages of this great health practice is that you can do it anywhere. All you need is a mat and a clear space and you can achieve something positive for your health while your newborn is napping or your nine year old is doing their homework.
A study for the National Centre for Disease Prevention found that the majority of the people in the United States did not engage in physical activities consistent to the 30 minutes recommended per day. Yoga can be effectively practiced in 30 minutes, but even 15 minutes of stretching and breathing will be beneficial. With a regular practice your mind becomes clearer, and you’ll get more done.
The Stressed Parent
Are you frazzled? Strung-out? Stressed beyond belief? It’s well known that having a yoga practice helps to calm the mind. A Dru Yoga Practitioner survey in Australia and the UK found that 83% of people were better able to handle their emotions after practicing yoga and 82 study groups in the USA found that people were using yoga to treat non-psychotic mood and anxiety disorders to great effect.
Yoga helps with breathing and calms you down. It helps you to focus your energies back into your body, rather than letting your thoughts and worries run circles inside your head! 26% of Americans claim to be experiencing “a lot of stress” and yoga can help with this as it’s been found that a healthy body is less prone to stress and other mood disorders and there is anecdotal evidence that yoga may even help to regulate your brain chemistry, as with meditation.
The Overweight Parent
Yoga is a gentle way to get your body back into shape. There are so many types of yoga to choose from, including Vinyasa, which can burn upwards of 500 calories per hour. Other types of calorie-burning yoga include Bikram and Ashtanga.
Nervous about putting your body on display? There are often female/male only classes, for all levels of experience. Robert Sidoti has even created a series of classes in California and Massachusetts specifically for men called “BROga”! If you live in a large city you can probably find all sorts of options, and unlike a fast-paced aerobics class, yoga is a great way to get your body gently back into the routine of moving and sweating.
There are many studies that indicate that yoga can kick start your metabolism and makes you more aware of your body. Yoga teaches us to respect our bodies and having a regular practice can be the first step in setting up healthy habits in your life.
The Tired Parent
A recent US study also pointed to the fact that 13% of survey respondents were successfully using yoga to treat insomnia. The Dru Yoga Practitioner survey in Australia and the UK also found that 85% of people found that they felt a boost in energy levels after a yoga class, indicating that yoga is revitalizing and refreshing for the tired mind.
No energy to get to the gym? Another positive for the tired parent is that yoga can be practiced easily at home, meaning you don’t need to get into the car and find parking or change out of your sweats!
The New Parent
Have a tiny little one at home? Could he or she be the next yoga star? There are now many classes where babies are welcome! Many of these classes are geared specifically at new mothers and are designed for the postnatal months. The idea is that yoga can help your body get its strength and tone back and treat tension in the neck and shoulders. Some classes even give you tips on strengthening your pelvic floor.
Yoga can be effective if you’ve had a caesarean section; it helps with flexibility and is also good for your joints, great if you have been carrying and lifting a baby. A US study of more than 2000 people found that 21% of people had used yoga to treat neck and back pain, and 90% of these respondents found that yoga was helpful.
One of the most important reasons that yoga is great for new parents is that it offers quiet ‘you time.’ Many people have reported a shift in mood and even better family relationships.
Never tried Yoga?
There are just so many types and varieties of yoga out there; a type to suit almost all personalities, health complaints and levels of fitness. If you’ve tried yoga before and didn’t love it, then don’t be disheartened – just try a different type and see if it suits you better. For all the busy, stressed, overweight, tired and new parents out there – take a deep breath and give something back to yourself.
Your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!