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“Your greatest contribution to the universe may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” – Unknown
Through the experience of motherhood, one starts a very deep journey of personal and ancestral healing that many of us might not feel ready for at the time. Ayurveda, the science of life, helps you design a lifestyle of support as you journey through every phase of life, including motherhood. You can think of Ayurveda as the Mother Tree with branches of practices that include food, herbs, yoga, meditation, and more.
After working in the corporate world for many years, I believe parenting is one of the hardest jobs I have ever had, but one of the most important works of life. It isn’t even the physical work that can get exhausting, but the emotional work. I remember a friend sharing how she started taking her child to therapy and soon realized she was the one who really needed therapy. How many of us can relate? Our children serve as karmic beings. They are our best teachers, bringing up our own wounds, deep within us. Children invite us to start our journey of healing in mysterious ways.
Self-care is self-love and one of the most important things we can do for ourselves and our children and families. This is how we fill our cup and continue parenting with love, compassion, patience, and wisdom. In the words of Eleanor Brown: “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
Through the journey of motherhood, one can tap into the five elements of nature for daily self-care which will support in cultivating strength and resiliency. Here is a simple daily recipe of Ayurvedic tools that can make a world of difference. These established daily routines or rituals are also known as dinacharya in Sanskrit.
Pranayama - The Air Element
The air element can be experienced through breathing practices and are a great way to start your morning and prepare the mind for meditation. Pranayama serves as a powerful ritual to shift your mindset. It helps to calm the nervous system and can be very beneficial to share with our children as well. At times, I have found my children using their relaxed breathing to calm themselves from stress or anxiety. Pranayama is a practice that can be done in the morning to prepare for the day and in the afternoon, before picking up your children from school, to prepare for their return home.
Meditation - The Earth Element
The earth element can be experienced when you ground your being with daily meditation. Getting up first for “you” time, before taking care of everyone else, will make you feel more alive and available for your family. This practice is the “the gem” or “true medicine” of life. Silence is golden. When you sit in quiet and stillness, you are able to cultivate your intuition and receive sacred messages. Think of this practice as a time to take a break from talking all the time, or disciplining all the time. It is a life-changer!
Walks in Nature - The Space Element
The space element can be experienced when you are in nature, connecting with all the elements. Try finding a park nearby to walk through that has a pond, lake or fountain, to witness the water element that can be soothing. Being in nature gives a feeling of freedom from daily stressors. It is a perfect practice right after moments of high intensity, such as dropping your children at school. Nature is medicine for the soul.
Yin Yoga - The Water Element
The water element can be experienced when you tap into Yin or feminine energy. During this practice, one can connect with the lower chakras which can also be grounding. This practice is about physical and emotional self-care. You practice this style of yoga by allowing the muscles to relax while staying in the poses for 3-5 minutes. Yin yoga helps to release tension in the lower body, especially the hips, where we hold a lot of stress. It is also wonderful for opening the energy channels in the body that are called meridians in Chinese medicine and nadis in Ayurvedic medicine. With this practice, you can experience energy flowing more freely in the body. The best part is legs up the wall to complete your practice!
Doing What You Love - The Fire Element
The fire element is truly experienced when you are practicing your dharma - fulfilling your purpose. Do you notice how alive you feel when you are doing what you love? In being willing to change and transform through the journey of motherhood, you gain a deeper understanding of your life’s purpose. As you continue to learn through your children, your purpose becomes more and more clear. What is your mission? Be open to learning through your children who could be your best teachers. They see your potential because you are enough!
Every time you practice self-care, you are nurturing your inner child with self-love. This is a great way to model practices that your own children can benefit from. Embrace the wisdom of your ancestors by enjoying this recipe of Ayurvedic rituals that can support you on your sacred journey of motherhood and beyond. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who are doing the most important work.
Discover self-care tools, tips and practices to support your daily well-being in the Chopra App.