Any parent can name the clichés of self-care: “an empty cup has nothing to pour out” and “put on your oxygen mask first.”
But how does that translate into a real world practice? Yoga is one option.
“When we take care of ourselves, we fill ourselves up and then we have more to give,” Liz Delaney, owner of Greenville Yoga, said.
Delaney is a mom, so she practices what she preaches. She said taking time for yoga helps her face the challenges of parenting.
“I am calmer,” she said. “I am less reactive. I can take a breath and deal with it better than when I am tired.”
Yoga is just one way parents can employ self-care, but it does promote ways to practice being calm even beyond the time in class.
“Taking the time to do yoga is like a reset,” Delaney said. “You can approach everything with fresh eyes. I am more open.”
Parents may also see physical benefits, with focus on the muscles of the core, legs, shoulders, upper body and more.
“With yoga, you get stronger,” Delaney said. “Even the most gentle classes will build muscle strength.”
At Delaney’s studio, there are no mirrors. She said the primary focus is on the breath.
“Most yoga classes focus on deep breathing that warms the body form he inside out,” she said. “We teach deep breathing. We call it ocean breathing. It definitely counteracts stress and the effects of long-term stress.”
Some people might feel held back from trying yoga because they feel that they don’t fit a certain physical mold. Delaney said that should not be an issue.
“You show up just as you are, comfortable,” she said. “We have 8-year-olds and 80-year-olds, all shapes and sizes. You don’t have to be any particular anything to do yoga.”
At times in the parenting journey, it can seem impossible to fit in anything extra. If that’s the case, Delaney said parents can start with what they are able to do. She has created 7-minute videos that are on Greenville Yoga’s YouTube channel. That’s a good start and gives parents a chance to take a break.
“Don’t make it unattainable,” she said. “Pick a time of day that works for you. It can even just be once a week. That is enough to get you started and to get that reset.”
Most importantly, parents shouldn’t feel guilty about caring for themselves. It really is an investment in their family.
“It’s quiet time without something to get done,” Delaney said. “We don’t allow cell phones. No one can get you, which is kind of nice. It’s really about being instead of doing.”