Get Your Zen On: Relaxation for Stressed Out Folks
In the early days of motherhood, I wish someone would have told me about the importance of making time to take care of myself spiritually and how developing that part of my life could help me be a calmer and more present parent.
A big part of becoming a conscious parent is learning to take care of ourselves as spiritual beings so that we have the inner-resources to be the most authentic people we can be to our children. It’s similar to the idea of being in a plane that is losing cabin pressure, and placing the oxygen mask over our mouths before our children’s, because we are no good to them if we are unconscious.
We love our precious little people, and placing them first comes naturally to us as parents. Yet at the end of a long day, when we’re so mentally and physically burnt out and sleep means falling in and out of consciousness, it may be time for us to learn ways to get our Zen on.
Rituals like locking the bathroom door, relaxing in a steaming hot lavender-infused bath with lots of scented candles and a glass of wine, or escaping for a much-needed body massage are great quick fixes when we are up to our neck in temper tantrums and dirty diapers. But there are deeper and more profound rituals that we can practice daily which will help us to become calmer and more centered people, so we don’t have to steal away to the bathroom to keep our sanity.
Meditation is my “spiritual Prozac” and is by far one of the most powerful and healing rituals that I have learned to practice in my life. There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation, mostly due to lack of education on the subject. Sitting long periods in a deep-trance is one form of meditation, but it isn’t the only one, nor is that approach right for everyone.
Learning to Meditate
Meditation can be as simple as closing our eyes and taking several deep breaths, creating a refuge where there are no problems, or little people demanding anything of us. In this space, we have the opportunity to embrace who we are, not as a mother, father, friend, daughter, lover, or brother, but as a unique and amazing individual on a stellar spiritual journey. Re-defining our idea of meditation and making it something that’s realistic to our daily lifestyle is the key to sticking to it each day.
Some people, myself included, practice meditation first thing in the morning as a precursor to the day. Others prefer to practice it before bed, focusing their attention on all of the things that they are grateful for. The time of day doesn’t matter, as long as we are consistent and committed to it.
A great way to begin to learn meditation is by using a guided meditation CD. With experimentation, we’ll eventually find a method that resonates within us and our specific needs. Those of us who meditate regularly can attest to the fact that on days that we don’t practice our ritual, we feel out of sync and knocked off balance.
Yoga no longer qualifies as just another health craze, but looks like a practice that is here to stay. If you practice yoga, then you know just how powerful it is. It is a two-for-one deal, a fusion of exercise and meditation. I remember as a little girl being dragged by my hippie mother to the yoga center, which was a regular practice for her and pretty much everyone else in Haight Ashbury at the time. Back then, I rolled my eyes and hated every second of it. Now that I’m older and wiser, I totally get it.
There are at least eight types of yoga including, Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Kundalini, lyengar, Anusara, Restorative, and Jivmukti, so there is something for everyone. They even have yoga classes for our little people, so you are not only incorporating the benefits of yoga into your own life, but also into your child’s life, teaching them something that could potentially impact the rest of their life.
Chanting is yet another powerful ritual that I personally practice. It nourishes my soul and grounds me so that I can be a better person and parent. There are many schools of thought on the methods of chanting. Some people use the OM mantra, while others, like myself, practice the Buddhist prayer: Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
We don’t have to be a practicing Buddhist, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. The key is constant repetition of a chosen mantra. In my own case, the results of chanting are spiritual, but the motivation behind the practice is scientific. I believe that everything in the universe (including us) is made of energy, so by placing all of our focus on the things that we want to bring into our life and chanting, we are able to draw that energy to us and manifest those things.
The world can be a scary place these days and chanting for our children’s protection and well-being is a powerful practice that we can do as parents to help us release our fears. I practice it regularly, and the results are nothing less than amazing. I have learned to let go and release them with peace.
Developing our spirituality and finding ways to strengthen and nurture that part of our self everyday will not only make us more conscious parents, but in the bigger plan, continue to sustain us throughout the rest of our journey here on Earth.
How do you get your Zen on? Share your favorite ways to relax, zone out, and bring about inner peace in the comments below!Tags : motherhood fatherhood conscious parenting yoga meditation inner peace