First it was tae bo kick boxing. Then yoga was all the rage. Then came Pilates. After that, fusion programs became trendy — things like yolates and piloga. And you just know that someone, somewhere, is working on a kick boxing version of ashtanga power yoga. (“Peace be with you.” *Thwack!*)
As a parent, business person and writer, I find it hard to make time for exercise. Thus, not to be outdone in the trendsetting department, I have come up with my own program: Yoga for Parents. I believe that it will be easy for most parents to incorporate the following routine into their daily schedule:
Sun Too Soon: Begin with this posture, first thing in the morning. Use the left hand to gracefully pull the blankets over your head while the right hand snakes out to push down the snooze button of your alarm.
Drunken Master Walk: After several reps of Sun Too Soon, make your way to the bathroom. Let yourself bounce gently off the hall walls. Breathe deeply with each impact to bring yourself to partial wakefulness.
Power Shower: Place both hands in a choke hold around the shower head and let yourself dangle from it while the water cascades over your body. This will stretch and tone the arm muscles, while loosening the back and shoulder muscles.
Java Warrior: With both hands wrapped around your mug, take long, deep gulps of your morning coffee. Don’t forget your breathing.
Hands Cover Ears: Use this posture to approach your child’s bedroom, especially if they are awake and exceedingly hungry. It will help you retain some semblance of the peace you were enjoying before Sun Too Soon.
The Octopus: Pin the child with two hands, unbutton jammies with another two hands, remove diaper with two hands, hold nose with one hand. Use remaining hands to prepare new diaper and put it on.
The Squid: Use two hands to feed child. Moving constantly and quickly, use remaining hands to catch flying food, wipe nearby surfaces, and guard your clothing. This is an advanced routine, but with practice, you’ll be able to catch all the food bits before they hit ground.
The Nose Bridge: Throughout the day, bring two fingers to the bridge of your nose in a pinching motion. This will relieve stress and bring a momentary sense of peace.
The Cow Pasture: Use exaggerated leg movements to both improve range of motion and proceed with caution through the debris field that is your child’s play area. Stepping on a plastic toy disturbs your aura nearly as much as stepping in a cow pie. Stepping on and squishing Woodsy the Bear will also really disturb your child’s aura.
Java Warrior Redux: As the day wears on, you may find you need to repeat this movement to maintain peak productivity.
The Toe Deflects: While stirring the pot for dinner, move one leg in a slow arc to carefully redirect your child from the stove/garbage pail/cupboard/other half dozen things he’s trying to get into while you’re cooking.
One Hand Clapping: Children should be praised for their accomplishments, but this can be difficult when you’re cooking/cleaning/trying to run your business. Use this movement to reinforce good behaviour.
The Crane: If you find yourself unable to get away from the phone (talkative neighbour, telemarketer, on hold with utility company), use this posture to keep an eye on your youngster.
The Hummingbird: A quick darting movement may become necessary after The Crane, say, if you spot your child shinnying up the lamp post.
Fireman’s Lift: When it’s time for bed, sneak up on your child, scoop him up, and put him over your shoulder. It may be necessary to adapt The Octopus to keep him from squirming away or grabbing door jambs en route to his crib.
Downward Facing Dad: At days end, you will find you have no problem adopting this pose for slumbering purposes. Indeed, the only issue will be making sure you are near the bed when the posture takes you.