By Laurie Searle
When I think of Mother’s day I immediately think of my mother, not my friends who are moms or myself even though I feel like a mom to so many people. Taking care of others is a selfless act and my mother is the definition of selfless. She puts everyone else first even over her own personal wins or losses. She will listen to my sisters and I ad nauseum and never say a word if we don’t ask how her day went. So, on Mother’s day, us kids (um, adults) think of every possible pampering routine we can imagine to take her away from caring for others so that she can solely focus on herself.
Each year, massage and facial packages line her doorstep and she usually ends up re gifting it back to us when we are home for the holidays and before they expire.
So, as a yoga teacher, fitness trainer and massage therapist, I’ve come up with a few little nurturing things mom can do within her EVERY day not just this one day when we celebrate how awesome she is.
Grab a pen and commit to nurturing yourself EVERY day – even if it’s just a few minutes. I promise you, you will feel like you have a few MORE minutes and more relaxed once you’ve given selflessly to the most important person – YOU.
First – Find a tiny place for you to do your yoga poses or meditation. If that freaks you out, the space just next to your bed is just fine for a few moves.
Upon waking up, sit up in your bed, cross your legs or take the feet together and knees wide like a cobbler to allow your hips to gently open.
Close your eyes or fix your gaze on something beautiful that you set aside for yourself to look at today. Cultivate a few words, images or ideas of what you want your intention to be. Your intention is not necessarily a goal but rather something to keep you rooted in when things get frustrating, you feel lost or out of balance. Find a few words, a phrase or an image – maybe of your kids, your mate or your ideal vacation. Make this image so clear that you can see the colors or the words – sense each syllable.
As you set your intention place it into the question, what do I want from my day? Have a clear vision for yourself walking calmly through the day even if your schedule is impossible or you don’t have the support you need to get through it. Gather your strength of vision, words, colors, whatever you need to keep your focus and clarity for the day.
Take a sun salute as soon as you wake up or if you have time – do a few. It will warm and wake up the body. Stand next to where you wake up or where you have decided your little space is for yoga or meditation. Keep your feet hip distance and on an inhale take your arms over your head palms parallel. Exhale and fold forward over your legs. Inhale and take the hands to your shins or fingertips to the floor then fold over your legs again. Inhale walk your feet back into an upper push up or plank pose is how we say it in yoga. Hold for as many breaths as you feel strong for.
Lower your knees to the ground and bend the elbows as close to the side body as you can. Release all the way to the floor then press the palms to the earth under the shoulders and lift your heart off the floor into a cobra pose with the heart forward and the shoulders down. Exhale and press back to an inverted V pose or downward facing dog with the hips high to the sky, spine long and heels gravitating toward the floor. Bend the knees as much as you need to keep the spine as long as possible.
If your kids or partner have the day off do this ritual with them.
Take a down dog after you make each bed, have your coffee or do it on your car before you leave for the day. It will keep you grounded. Just place your hands shoulder distance on the bed or car and walk your feet out so that your head hangs heavy between the arms. Take five deep breaths and go back to what you were doing with a slower heart rate and a focused mind.
At the end of the day, lie on your back with the legs up the wall. If you must, check the iPhone or email or finish watching an episode of your favorite TV show. Ideally, close your eyes and look back slowly at your day as if you were watching an episode of your favorite TV show. Is it Scandal, Saturday Night Live, CNN or some wacky Nickelodeon kids show? Review it without judgment on what you would do differently. Just allow yourself to witness if you took your intention with you and placed it into each task. If not, there is always tomorrow. Practice makes practice. And, when you place your intention into something outside of yourself, it is a lot easier to do things without anger or negative memotion. Yup, me-emotion.
Take the heels of your hands and gently place them to the outside of your thighs and rub them up toward just above your knee and down. Do small circles then take them to the top of your thighs and go above the knee toward the hip.
Bend the knees and place the palms to the calves and rub in a circular motion. If you can reach the feet, give your feet a high five several times stimulating the acupressure points and move to the shins increasing circulation to the legs like a little internal shower.
Then shake the legs like you were covered in water with no towel anywhere. Shake ‘em hokey pokey style then let them go to the ground.
Once the legs are to the ground, take the hands and gently squish and squeeze your opposite arms with opposite hands. Give yourself a pat on the back, gently pat yourself on the belly and pelvis with just the tips of the fingers. Take the hands to the side waist and pat gently. Take just the tips of the fingers and pat the face and forehead.
Take the hands together and give yourself a round of applause for all that you do (also stimulating and creating circulation in the hands).
Shake out the hands and arms furiously like you did the legs and then just lie there for 5-10 breaths repeating your intention words or image several times before opening your eyes and starting your day.
You are a mom. You rule and you deserve a little time for yourself to relax. Now, if you want to kick your butt, I can give you a five minute routine for that too. Maybe next month, but really – just take a little time to chill – you worked hard for it.