Twenty minutes of relaxation every day is easy for most people, even if you are working and busy you choose when to stop, how to spend your free time what to let go of in favour of a restful practice to reset your nervous system.
There is one group of people however who, in my opinion, have are uniquely challenged in accessing their twenty minutes daily restorative yoga (or even a basic night’s sleep) and that is the parents of small children.
My own children are now 11 and 7 and I have to say they have been entering into the spirit of my twenty minute challenge quite happily – even setting the timer for me and coming to ‘wake’ me at the end. Many of the photos I have shared with you have been taken by them. They are old enough now to play together or independently and to occupy themselves – it’s only twenty minutes – they get it – sometimes.
Younger children do not ‘get it’ – ever. They require constant attention and have no ‘off’ button. When they sleep, there is work to be done – if you don’t do it while they sleep you have to do it while carrying them – which makes it even more work.
If you lie down to rest in the presence of a small child, they will crawl over stealthily and begin to pluck out your eye lashes in an attempt to rouse you.
If you are lucky, they will observe your stillness and see an opportunity to use you as a climbing frame, or perhaps a ‘rock’ which they can climb on. You learn fast never to lie on your back in case someone should sit, stand or even jump directly on your bladder.
You may be able to convince them it is a game of hospitals in which you are the patient and in desperate need of a bandage, or that they are an artist drawing your portrait.
If you are really lucky you may be able to convince them to snuggle down with you for a gorgeous cuddle, or they may play a lovely self-contained game while you watch and rest, but this is never inevitable.
To the parents reading this, I salute you! The conditions for relaxation with our babes around us are never quite perfect, and yet we give it a go any way – and even 30 seconds is better than nothing.
I’m sharing today a poem for parents and a new guided relaxation recorded with an ‘eyes open’ option and acknowledgment that while the conditions for relaxation might not be 100% perfect, we can look at our children with soft eyes and a warm heart and know that all is well.
If my message today does not speak directly to you but there are parents of young children in your life, please check in on them today – send them a message, give them some support. Its a difficult job at the best of times and cooped up at home with a baby or tot (or three of them), and possibly trying to ‘work from home’ at the same time is incredibly challenging.
Jo Jo’s nest: thank you Jo Jo for sharing this miraculous picture of your beautiful sleeping babies and your mat ready for your relaxation.
Guided Relaxation for Mothers of Babes and Tots
Soft Eyes, Warm Heart, All is Well.
Recorded on Wednesday 1 April 2020 for Mother Nurture Yoga.
Tonglen for Mothers
Tonglen is a Buddhist breathing practice
I breathe in the daily frustrations
small as they are, big as they can seem
I breath out patience for us all.
I breathe in the loneliness
of days spent mothering on our own
I breathe out connection
I breathe in the brokenness
not being enough in the world
I breathe out wholeness
leaving ideals behind, truth.
I breathe in the boredom
diapers, cooking, same every day
I breathe out simple pleasure
swings, finger painting, rocks.
I breathe in the exhaustion,
the worry, the fear
I breathe out the calm energy, excitement.
I breathe in the rage
at your plight, your place, your life
I breathe out peace
– DeLona Campos-Davis