I Asana, 2 Asana, 3 Asana, 4…

by Toni Grates

As rewarding and wonderful as being a parent can be, it often comes with a constant challenge to keep balanced.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put on my workout clothes, determined to get to the gym, only to find myself trading them in for pajamas at the end of the day without ever having used them.  I decided I needed to build exercise into my day or I wasn’t going to get any.

My approach to yoga has, and always will be, very practical.  You don’t need fancy name brand yoga pants or a yoga mat that costs more than your monthly car payment.  You just need to find a few minutes a day to stop what you’re doing and give one of these practical yoga poses (asanas) a try.  You can even do them with your loved ones to keep your minds clear, your breaths full and your spirits positive…

Pose #1 – “Mama Needs a Breakasana”

Your kids are calling your name, the phone is ringing and you’ve finally managed to silence the fire alarm after leaving dinner on high for a little too long.  Time out!  Head to the washroom and sit on a closed toilet seat or on the edge of the tub.  Fold forward, letting the head hang heavy.  This is an excellent way to reduce anxiety by calming the nervous system.  Imagine all stress and tension falling out of the crown of your head as you exhale.  Let the inhales fill you with peace and quiet.  Roll up to a seated position, articulating through the spine, and slowly open your eyes.  You should feel recharged and ready to tackle whatever comes next.

Pose #2 – “I’ve got your Backasana”

This pose cultivates support between family members by reminding us that we always have each other’s back.  Have two family members sit cross-legged and back to back with arms interlocked.  Both take a deep breath in and then one partner folds forward on the exhale as the other partner releases back, resting.  Continue to go back and forth, coordinating the movement with the breath.  You’ll feel your chest opening, your back tension releasing and your breath flowing freely.  Not to mention the bonding from everyone doing this together!

Pose #3 – “Take 5asana”

This pose is great for both kids and adults at times when insecurity (and chaos!) seem to be taking over.  Roll your upper body forward, bringing your chest to your thighs and your forehead to the floor.  Relax arms by the side or stretch them out long in front.  Feel your shoulders and neck release as you take deep breaths. Don’t come out of this until you’re ready!


Toni Grates is an actor, writer and yoga instructor.




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