Dissolve the old; cherish the new
Yoga helps to release built up tension in the body. By practicing yoga we give ourselves the freedom to focus on the task at hand rather than foregone concerns.
Being a parent or guardian can be a full time occupation – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even when we’re not with our children we are likely thinking about preparing meals, purchasing study supplies, or organising a schedule for the coming weekend’s commitments.
Outside of facilitating the household’s weekly routine, we can also be unexpectedly challenged emotionally. An argument with our partner, your child experiencing bullying, or demanding in-laws are all potential causes for feeling angst.
The continuous demands of parenthood, however, can leave little room for acknowledging and fully releasing these emotions. The end result can be unexplainable back aches, headaches, or an excessive reaction to a child’s minor misbehaviour.
If we do not acknowledge negative emotions as and when they arise, research has shown that over time our bodies act like sponges and store these emotions. Eventually, we can develop illnesses, which force us to rest, or worst yet uncontrollably dump our built up anger on our partner or defenceless children.
One method for combating the build up of these negatives effects is to practice Yoga. Yoga has been shown to provide numerous health benefits including increasing blood flow, boosting your immunity, reducing your blood pressure, assisting with the prevention IBS and other digestive problems as well as improving your overall well being.
There have been numerous studies commissioned to prove the benefits Yoga can provide to your body. As an example, six recent studies with over 570 patients showed that Iyengar yoga is an effective means for reducing or controlling both back and neck pain. On top of this, a study of elderly female yoga practitioners showed that Yoga, which requires attentional engagement, brought about positive changes in brain structure and function, especially in areas related to awareness, attention, executive functions and memory.
Yoga tones and stretches the body releasing any tension that we have unknowingly stored inside. Yoga helps you to notice where you are holding your tension, whether that be in your tongue, face, neck etc. By ‘tuning in’ to what your body is doing you will be able to learn and train yourself on how to properly relax.
One of the most challenging situations for parents can be ensuring they receive enough sleep each evening. Yoga has been shown to increase pratyahara (which means mastery over external influence), which can provide some much needed downtime for your nervous system and assist with better sleep. As we all know, better sleep equals a decrease in tiredness and stress levels.
By regularly practicing yoga we release foregone concerns and give ourselves the space to be present for today’s challenges. If you would like to be a fully present parent and give your child the most appropriate guidance that is needed in that moment in time, give Yoga a try and see the benefits it can provide you.
Crow EM, Jeannot E, Trewhela A. Effectiveness of Iyengar yoga in treating spinal (back and neck) pain: A systematic review.Int J Yoga 2015;8:3¬14
Front. Aging Neurosci., 20 June 2017 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00201