Mindfulness | Parenting

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga for Parents

By Samantha Botes, contributing writer

Life can certainly have its crazy days, especially with the pandemic and forced changes in work patterns, employment, shopping, and all the other stuff we used to take for granted!

When you add in homeschooling and remote learning due to school closures, it’s enough to make anyone say, “I’ve had enough!”

Having a plan in place to adapt to online school and virtual learning is one way to remove stress. Another thing that helps? Incorporating yoga into your children’s pod school routine. Yoga will help the kids keep moving, feel more self-assured and learn to calm their emotions. 

But what about YOU? As a mom or parent, you also need to find balance between working from home, schooling your children, and running your house. Right?

Well, guess what? Yoga can be a game changer for parents, too! It’s not just about the time you spend on your mat, but it’s also about showing up for your kids with more joy and calm in your day-to day-life. 

Do you want to learn more about the mental health benefits of yoga for parents? Do you want to dive into the benefits of yoga and find out how it can help you show up for your kids – off the mat? Read on!

mental benefits of yoga

The History of Yoga

Yoga has been around since ancient times and today it’s practiced by over 25 million people in the U.S. alone.

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit language and it means to join or yoke, so it is also known as the union between body and mind.

Yoga historically comes from the Hindu tradition but today it’s is for everyone. It takes many forms and many yogis in the U.S. also practice meditation and pranayama (breathing exercises).

The Importance of Yoga for a Parent

Many parents find the practice healing and grounding. And, this may ring true to you but parents often put themselves last after making sure everyone else in the family is taken care of. 

Indeed, life and parenting can be incredibly challenging at times. And yoga provides you, the parent, with a way to show up for your kids with more calm, ease and joy. We think that’s a win-win.

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Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

When you look at images of people practicing yoga poses, it is easy to see that they are typically exercising. But this is much more than physical exercise! Yoga helps calm the mind, relax the body, and focus on tasks at hand.

Deep breathing in yoga promotes calm

You may have heard that deep breathing helps reduce stress, right?

How does this happen?

Yogic breathing (also called pranayama) has the following positive effects:

  • It lowers your heart rate
  • It helps regulate your blood pressure
  • It helps your body to move into a relaxed state

Deep breathing provides a signal to your nervous system to relax. In doing so, your heart rate slows down, your blood pressure drops, and the release of the stress chemical, cortisol, is inhibited. 

Yoga helps you focus and concentrate

Practicing asanas and breath work are great tools to help you focus on one thing – and this can be difficult when you’re constantly multi-tasking.

So, consider starting your day with an asana practice that’s not too heated or intense. This way you can focus on pranayama and deep breathing. This may also help you clear your mind and prepare for whatever the day brings!

Mental clarity is another benefit of yoga

As we’ve already stated (but it’s worth saying again), mental clarity is just as important to your well-being as physical strength.

In fact, while practicing poses, you’ll be more apt to concentrate fully on the present moment. And, after your asana practice, you may find that you have more clarity than before.

Parents are Naturally Less Stressed if Kids Are Happy

Incorporating yoga into your family life is so beneficial and promotes intentional bonding time together. You might even want to practice yoga with your baby or toddler!

Practicing yoga has sleep benefits

A parent who gets good quality sleep will naturally show up for the day well-rested and more relaxed. Besides, who wants to try juggling family, home schooling and work while feeling exhausted!

Studies show that by trying a few simple poses before bedtime will help you unwind and relax your mind. Add in some deep breathing and you may find yourself easing into the evening. Ahhh…..

Here are some other simple yet effective ways to promote good sleep (like getting more exercise and eating a nutritious diet!)

Unexpected Benefits of Yoga

As you can see, yoga can be a game changer for parents. It’s not just about the time you spend on your mat…yoga can help you show up for your kids with more joy.

Perhaps you even want to learn how to teach yoga to your own children or lead classes in your neighborhood! 

About Samantha: Samantha is a mom of three living in Cape Town, South Africa. Being a single mom who is homeschooling two of her children as well as being self-employed, she understands the importance of keeping fit, eating healthy, and remaining calm – which sometimes can be tricky. She loves to travel and being on a safari in the African bush is her ‘peaceful place’. Writing is a great form of escapism, something which she believes everyone needs to have to stay sane in today’s fast-paced world!

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