Do you ever feel like you’re forgetting more things than you remember? Are you so bleary eyed and exhausted that you feel more like a zombie moving through the motions instead of the bright, vibrant mother you want to be to your kids? Have you ever accidentally put diaper rash cream on your toothbrush? (What? Just me? Well, it was time for a new toothbrush anyway!) If this sounds at all familiar, you might be suffering from a common ailment I lovingly call Mommy Brain.
It usually starts when you’re pregnant as Pregnancy Brain, but then you have your baby and a few months (or in my case years) passes and you start wondering how many of your brain cells died during your delivery…. There’s no quick fix for Mommy Brain—except maybe a few really good nights of sleep (I know what you’re thinking: Bahahahahahaha!)
Seriously, though, first things first. Have you been neglecting your own self-care? Are you dehydrated? Have you eaten today (and I mean something healthy that makes you feel alive—not peanut butter and jelly!)? Did you take a shower and put on clean clothes? First, take care of all of those necessities we mamas sometimes put aside while we’re caring for our littles, then fit in a yoga practice the first chance you get (naptime is a great choice or even after you get the kiddos to sleep at night).
A Yoga Practice for Mommy Brain
This short yoga practice is great for increasing focus and clarity in all areas of your life. It can help to make us sharper, more present, and increase our ability to focus on one thing at a time. These poses will help you feel grounded, centered, and connected, then we’ll focus on doing some poses that require complete concentration. When you’re done, you can take that focus over into other areas in our lives. Give it a try!
Downward Facing Dog with a block under the forehead
Inversions like Downward Facing Dog send blood (and oxygen) to your brain. That’s why if I only have a few minutes to practice, my go-to is almost always Down Dog. Putting a block under my forehead makes the pose more soothing and grounding—two things I definitely need when I’m feeling frazzled and unfocused.
See also Find Your Mama Mantra
Mountain Pose (AKA Strong Mama Pose)
Stand tall with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Bring your big toes to touch, press your feet down, and lift the crown of your head up toward the sky so you’re as tall as possible. Really pay attention to your foundation. Can you root your feet any more? Can you feel gravity pulling you down, connecting you to the earth?
Keep standing tall, spread your toes, and feel your strong foundation underneath you. Bend your right knee and turn it out to the right. You can keep your toes to the floor for balance and bring your right foot to the inside of your left ankle. Or, bring your right foot up to the side of the left shin, or to the left inner thigh. (Just don’t bring that foot to the inside of the knee—be above or below the knee!) Once you have your balance, bring your hands together in front of your chest and take 5 full, deep breaths through the nostrils.
Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
Keep the right lifted and bring your hands to your hips. Then, either grab onto your right big toe with your right index and middle finger and straighten the right leg all the way out to the right. Or, keep the right knee bent and hold onto the front of the knee as you open the leg out to the right. Stay for 3-5 full, deep breaths. When you’re done, come back to Tree Pose for just one breath. Then, come back to Mountain Pose before you switch sides.
From Mountain Pose, bend your knees, and drop your bottom down toward the floor—pretend you’re sitting in a tall chair. Bring your weight into your heels. Reach your arms up by your ears. Spread your fingers. Breathe.
From Chair Pose, lift your right leg and stack your right knee on top of your left. Bring your left toes to touch the floor for balance or wrap it around your other leg. Sit down until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Then, give yourself a hug with the left elbow on top of the right. Lift your elbows so they’re the same height as your shoulders. Stay here or lift your forearms up and cross your wrists.
Warrior III Pose
Unwind your arms and legs, but don’t let your right foot touch the floor. Instead extend it out behind you, so the leg is parallel to the floor. Bring your hands to your hips or reach them next to your sides, fingertips reaching toward the wall behind you. Spread your fingers. Keep both hip points pointing down toward the floor. Stay for 3 breaths.
Eagle Pose (Yes, again!)
Don’t let your right foot touch the floor as you shift back into Eagle Pose with the right knee on top of the left. Breathe. Make your way back to Mountain Pose, shake out your legs (do a happy dance!) then switch sides.
Pigeon Pose with head resting on something
When you’re done standing, come down to hands and knees. Bring your right knee to the inside of your right wrist. Take a big breath in and lengthen your spine. Exhale as you fold forward. Stay for 10 breaths or more, then switch sides.
Come back to a seated position on the floor. Close your eyes. Bring your attention to your breath, in and out through the nostrils, slow, steady, even, and full. Stay here for at least 10 breaths (longer if you can).
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