I have practiced yoga throughout my adult life. The only time period I was really devoted was when I was pregnant. I went multiple times per week and I truly believe it helped ease most aches and pains associated with carrying around a small human 24/7. That being said, I stopped going once small human entered the world because well, time and energy mainly. That is a very poor excuse because if I have learned anything in my adult life it’s that when I take a little time for myself in the form of exercise and meditation I am a much better Mom, wife and person in general.
We moved to East Texas to be closer to my Dad as he recovered from a major surgery and began immunotherapy. I can’t tell you how stressful it is to be caring for a young child and an aging parent at the same time but I know I’m not alone. In fact, more than 1 in 10 adults are caring for a child and adult parent simultaneously according to the Pew Research Center. That coupled with leaving our entire lives behind hundreds of miles away I was feeling lonely, restless and unfulfilled. I started recognizing signs of depression. While I am generally a “my glass is half full” kind of person I knew I better make a change.
While much of my satisfaction in life comes from helping the people I love it is no secret that it can be a very depleting experience being a full time caregiver. As my Dad began his recovery and regained some strength he relies on me less and can spend quality time with his granddaughter. This has freed up some “me time” otherwise known as the mythical, “self care”. I think self care is a lovely idea in theory but in practice it is just one more box that rarely gets checked off my list.
Like many women I find it hard to justify spending money on myself when our finances could be used for things to enrich our daughter’s life. When it comes to having extra time I may as well be searching for a unicorn because Moms don’t have free time. Every minute of every day is accounted for with household duties, errands, meals, teaching and caring for children. So of course something has to suffer if I attend a yoga class for an hour. Guess what? That’s OK. I give myself permission and you should too. You are worth it.
Why yoga? For starters it’s the closest thing to mental and physical therapy you can get rolled into one class for a very low price. The fact that yoga focuses on breathing, mental clarity and living in the present moment are all really helpful to me. Physically I love yoga because there are very few physical activities you can actually improve with age. People with completely different skill levels can all take the same yoga class. The beauty is each person can tailor their pose to fit their comfort level. I have had people tell me they are not interested in yoga because it seems like it would be too slow and boring. To that I say, try Vinyasa Power Flow yoga and prepare to feel like you just completed one of those intense trendy workouts.
Conversely, I have had people tell me they are not flexible or strong enough to do yoga. No one expects you to do a handstand your first class. There are many beginner classes and every class can be modified to fit your needs. Yoga is one of the best ways to increase flexibility and balance (two things we lose as we age) because it’s a practice. There is no one size fits all in yoga. That’s one of the things I love about it. Plus yoga teachers are not drill sergeants. The only person you are competing against in class is yourself.
Every single time I go I feel stronger, taller (those stretches) and more mentally calm. Practicing yoga has given me more energy. It has increased my self confidence because every week I feel my body getting stronger. I use meditation and breathing I learn in yoga to increase my patience and limit stress. Plus, it’s fun. It’s a rare event to find a room full of adults that are full of positive energy. If you could use some in your life (and can’t we all?) then find a yoga class and prepare to become a better version of yourself.
If you live in or near Marshall, Texas try Core Yoga. The studio has been a game changer for me. You can find them here: www.coreyogaetx.com.