I am excited to welcome Sarah Gyampoh MSW, RYT as a guest blogger today. Sarah is a Mindful Motherhood Specialist who combines her counseling skills with the wisdom of yoga and mindfulness to assist moms in releasing feelings of overwhelm. She assists them in finding and honoring their way of mothering.
Mindfulness is being conscious of and paying attention to the current moment where life is happening.
It’s noticing your experience with open-hearted, non-judgmental awareness, no matter the situation. When we are able to incorporate mindfulness practices into our daily lives, we notice our reality begins to shift. So simple, yet it takes effort to quiet the mind and focus on the now.
Our minds are continually processing numerous things at the same time, especially in modern times, we tend to be multi-tasking—washing dishes while talking on the phone and simultaneously having a conversation with someone standing next to us. We carry around long to-do lists, and always have somewhere to go and something to do.
The Power of Paying Attention
I am certainly guilty of trying to do it all at once. Half-playing with my children while responding to an email on my phone, and doing a poor job at both. While this is the norm, it doesn’t have to be your reality. Mindfulness can be easily interwoven into your life, and can be practiced at any time, even while folding laundry or waiting in the car line to pick up your children from school. Like our breath, mindfulness is an ever-present friend waiting to be called on and put to use.
When my oldest was a newborn, a well-meaning friend gifted me a book that had a way to decipher your baby’s cries to figure out the reason for the crying. I studied the book, listened to the CD, and felt prepared to put the information to use. “Neh,” meant the baby is hungry, “Owh,” baby is sleepy, “Heh,” baby is uncomfortable, “Eairh,” baby has gas, and “Eh,” baby needs to be burped.
One day when my son was crying, I decided to give it a try. I listened to his cry and tried to figure out what he was communicating. After about a minute passed, which seemed like a lifetime listening to him cry, I scrapped the listening idea and picked him up. I realized I didn’t have magical ears that could distinguish the noises he was making, but I could pick him up and comfort him.
Brining Yourself to the Present Moment
When we pay attention to the now, we are present in our lives, emotions, and for those around us. As moms, mindfulness serves us well as our children are always seeking our attention and recognition, and when we can “be” with them, we notice our relationship changing and becoming more intimate.
A simple way to bring yourself to the present and focus your mind is by concentrating on your breath. Our breath is vital to our existence. Often times we inhale and exhale without giving any thought to it. Today, I invite you to spend some time consciously breathing-being present with each inhale and each exhale. Breathing in to nourish your being and exhaling to cleanse your being.
How to Breathe Consciously
Allow yourself some time alone to do this exercise. Begin by taking notice of your natural breath. Just breathe and be. There is nothing to be done right now but to focus on your breath. Begin to breathe only through your nose; inhaling through the nostrils and exhaling through the nostrils. Maybe you would like to count the length of each breath. Inhaling for a count of four and exhaling to a four count. Think of something you would like to release from your life and something you would like to enhance. Maybe you want to release anger or fear; and maybe you’d like to enhance patience or peace. Enhance on the inhale, release on the exhale. Start lengthening and deepening your breaths. Be present with each breath and really feel how each inhale fills you up with goodness and each exhale releases negativity. Continue to do this for as long as you like, at least a full three minutes.
A second mindfulness technique that is valuable to moms is learning to surrender to the things we can’t control. Sometimes events don’t go as we planned, our child has a meltdown in Target, or we spill something on our favorite blouse. Learning to accept and “be” with whatever life throws our way is invaluable.
A simple practice that you can do whenever you feel in need of letting go and releasing, is moving your body into child’s pose.
How to Practice Child’s Pose
Kneel down and let the tops of your feet rest on the floor. Touch your big toes together. Then lower your hips back and sit on your heels. Join your knees together or separate them hip-distance apart.Hinge at the hips and slowly fold forward. Rest the torso over your thighs if the knees are joined, and between your thighs, if the knees are wide. Extend your arms in front of you and place the palms down on the mat. Or extend the arms behind you, alongside your torso, with palms facing up.
Release your shoulders toward the ground and rest your forehead (third eye) on the mat in front of your knees. Keep your hands and arms engaged in Child’s pose. Reach forward or backward depending on your hand placement. Stay here for a few minutes. Trust the natural rhythm and flow of life.
Whenever you find yourself in need of some peace, these practices will help you reach that state of mind.
Mothering is beautiful, challenging, and magical, and incorporating simple mindfulness techniques into your practice of motherhood can help you to be your own best friend when you need it most.
ABOUT OUR GUEST BLOGGER:
Sarah Gyampoh, MSW, RYT is a Mindful Motherhood Specialist who combines her counseling skills with the wisdom of yoga and mindfulness to assist moms in releasing feelings of overwhelm and finding and honoring their way of mothering. She is the mom of four beautiful children. Sarah can be found online at www.maternalessence.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.