By Guest Blogger Leslie Newsome

Whether staying at home and raising children or working outside of the home, there is no question that today’s moms are busier than ever! In our increasingly face paced society, we find ourselves working longer hours and taking less time for ourselves. Unfortunately, this often leaves us tired, stressed out and feeling disconnected.

If this sounds familiar, consider this: Practicing yoga provides many benefits for everyone and especially busy moms. It allows us to center and ground ourselves, finding that deep connection with our inner self while also allowing us to connect more fully with others. As well, yoga provides many great physical benefits such as strength, flexibility, reduced stress and better sleep. Finally, practicing yoga regularly in a studio setting creates a great sense of community. And it is also a lot of fun!

When we take the time to step onto the mat, we make ourselves a priority, even if for only an hour. During that time, the focus shifts from the craziness of the outside world to the peace within our own hearts. We allow ourselves to be fully present in the moment, guided by our breath and our inner wisdom. Just this simple act of quieting, breathing and centering can be profound. Allowing our thoughts to come and go without judgment and to just “be” creates a feeling of peace and calm. Through regular practice, this sense of inner stillness becomes more and more a part of our everyday life off the mat. We begin to feel grounded, we are better able to manage conflict and stress, and we are more in tune with ourselves and the world around us. This is especially important because as moms, we teach our kids by example. You know the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do?” Well that rarely, if ever, works. Kids learn what they live and what they see. If mom is stressed out and tired, agitated and constantly doing for others before herself, then that becomes their reality. It is likely the child will grow up with the same habits. But if a child witnesses a mom who is in tune with herself, taking time to care for her health and well being, then that will likely be the path the child will follow. It is a critical example to set for our kids: we are important enough and valuable enough to create time and space to nurture ourselves. In doing so, we are not only better able to take care of ourselves but also to care for those around us.

The physical benefits of yoga are tremendous. We develop strength, balance and flexibility. We also calm our nervous system, lower our blood pressure, improve our immune function and improve our circulation. By creating a regular yoga practice, we become more fit and better able to deal with the physical demands of daily life. Yoga helps to improve our posture so that we may avoid injury and feel better as we navigate through the world. Breathing well is another benefit of yoga. Through breath work and asana practice, we begin to understand the breath as a valuable tool that is always at our disposal. Using the breath in this way, we rediscover the mind-body connection and bring awareness back into our lives. All of this provides for improved concentration and the ability to be present in the moment.

Finally, there is an incredible sense of community that occurs when we practice yoga in a studio setting. We are surrounded by others on a similar journey; those seeking growth and balance. We find a sense of connection and support with each other. As we learn and grow together, that connection is strengthened and becomes an amazing asset for us as we continue our own personal journey.

Yoga truly is a gift for everyone. Through physical asana practice, we learn ourselves inside and out, becoming in tune and aware with each breath. We build strength and softness at the same time and provide ourselves with the much needed care and attention it takes to live well. If you are a mom or know a mom who is considering yoga but has yet to take the plunge, please try it! I promise, you will not be disappointed and it just might be the most important gift you ever give yourself and those around you.