Don’t Get Lost at Sea – Anchor Yourself with Ma Yoga Self-Care Practices

I never really learned about self-care practices before I became a mom, and so I really felt un-moored as a new mom. I felt like I was floating on an inner tube in a sea of changing, naps, and feeding. Sometimes the waves would carry a friend nearby and we’d get so excited, reach out our hands and share stories – and then the current would bobble us in different directions again.

In a way I feel grateful for my Cesarean because it required me to stay put with my baby for a good 8 weeks.  Those were two of the most intense, sweet, and painful (literally my nipples were bleeding) months of my life.

Ma Yoga self-care practices for pregnancy, motherhood & beyond

But soon after sometimes I was floating blissfully… sometimes I was longing for my old life… either way, I couldn’t stop the inner tube and the longer I floated the more isolated I began to feel. I was running out of the house once a day to teach, and feeling like a hypocrite because somehow in these long days I still couldn’t find a moment to practice. I finally got myself to a yoga class and you know what?  All I could think about was how much I wished I was home with my baby.

This is when I remembered my yoga teachers’ words, about happiness not needing any particular conditions… about yoga being about taking action… about the power we have to shift things just by remembering that we are all actually Consciousness, or energy, or whatever you choose to call the energy that beats our heart and breathes our breath.

And by doing some of the potent self-care practices that have been around for thousands of years that optimize how this divine energy is flowing through our minds, our bodies, and our emotional bodies, we can come back into our calm, clear center.

These self-care practices are called Dina Charya – Daily Rhythms.  They are from Ayurveda – the sister science to yoga – which I teach as “MAyurveda“, simple and quick vitality practices for mamas. They help us sleep better, have more energy throughout the day, and have a stronger immune system.

Obviously when you’re a new mom it’s not the time to start insisting on a certain bed time, because it’s not going to happen, or starting a bunch of new routines you feel you must do at the same time every day.

But it IS the time to start being aware of how you feel when you get to bed early vs. staying up late; when you eat dinner early vs. late; when you start the day with hot water vs. none.  It’s a great time for experimenting and finding what works for you, as you and your baby develop your rhythms together.

And of course if you’re pregnant it’s the perfect time to start exploring these anchoring self-care practices for yourself – and your baby will learn from watching you.

The self-care practices below can be your anchor in chaotic times.  You will know right away what you can do to get back on top of your game. Feeling burned out?  You’ll be more aware that you’ve been drinking coffee all day and staying up all night, and more likely to decide to get back to that meditation before early bedtime.

Ma Yoga self-care practices for pregnancy, motherhood & beyond

Feeling like you want to shed a few pounds?  You’ll know from experience that if you eat your big meal in the middle of the day, when the body has more digestive enzymes to burn the energy, and eat a lighter dinner, your body will start letting go of what it no longer needs.

Once you have a few routines that are part of the rhythm of your day – things you do without making conscious decisions about it, like brushing your teeth and showering – they’ll call for you louder and louder.  They become potent parts of your week, and eventually, each day.

Pick one thing from this list and start doing it now.  Choose something that calls to you because you know inside that it will help you feel better: more calm, at ease, connected to what matters deeply to you, energized throughout the day.  Your practices will be the anchor you need to pause the chaotic floating and they’ll help you to recharge your system.

These self-care practices are recommended by both ancient and modern rishis  (yogis who dedicate their lives to figuring out how to find the highest level of health and happiness in our embodied experience on earth).

They are foundational practices for optimal rhythm to create Divine Ma health and happiness, from morning til night:

1. Start the day with hot water: as hot as you can and a LOT. Like 18 oz.  Flush your system to start the day; start out fully hydrated; help move your bowels so you can move forward without bringing yesterday into today. Add lemon or lime to help get rid of mucous. And add some ginger if you’re fighting a cold.

2. Meditate: everyone has two minutes.  Even two minutes of inviting spaciousness will help you find clarity and calm throughout the day.

3. Do some yoga or other movement:  create a super do-able goal, like one down dog a day.  Eventually, you will probably feel like doing more. Or just dance. If you have specific body parts that give you discomfort, pick some simple therapeutic exercises.

4.  Rub oil all over your body BEFORE you shower: sesame oil if you run cold; coconut if you run hot. They are deeply hydrating for the skin AND the internal organs.

5. Drink a green smoothie: wake up the intelligence of your cells, your cravings, and your own connection to nature by eating an easily digestible light breakfast full of chlorophyll, the molecule that allows plants to change sun into energy.   Click here for an easy, no-recipe way to make them and for the kids – Green Pancakes.

6.  Eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day: it should be at least half vegetables. And if you’re going to have a treat, have it now.

7. Unplug from the computer by 6: let your mind begin to settle and let go of the intensity your work day. Socialize, be with family, or go for a relaxing walk.

8. Be done with dinner 3 hours before you go to sleep: I know, people laugh at me for this one, but when we go to sleep we can either be digesting food or processing our day.  If we process the day while we sleep, we wake up more energized; if we have to digest food while sleeping we often wake up groggy and low-energy.

Ma Yoga self-care practices for pregnancy, motherhood & beyond

9. Go to bed before 10:  This is a great time to start doing this one. Practice going to be not long after baby, and you will wake up early, full of energy and ready for action!

10. Meditate: Again, 2 minutes sitting up in bed can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your sleep. Get your partner to do it with you and you will enjoy a whole new level of connection that you can feel even as you sleep!
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