If I could give one piece of advice to every new parent, it wouldn’t actually be a piece of advice at all. I’d take the opportunity to share a breathing exercise that will serve them time and time again. From the first pregnancy to the empty nest, parenting offers plenty of opportunities to experience anxiety, irritation, and anger. Keeping your cool isn’t always easy and parenting while frustrated doesn’t usually go too well. Fortunately, yoga offers us a breathing exercise called “Sitali Pranayama” that can save the day. It’s easy to do, you don’t need any special equipment, and you can even do it while your kids are fighting in the back of the car!
Sitali Pranayama gives power, strength, and vitality while soothing and releasing hot emotions like irritation, shame, and anger. It’s calming, cooling, and brings you back to center. I always teach the pregnant mamas in my prenatal yoga classes this breath as it can be useful during the intensity of labor. Moms with anxiety love it because it slows the breath down and helps them regain a sense of calm and control. Kids love it because it looks silly and they can learn to regulate their own emotions. It’s really a kind of one-size-fits-all yoga wonder!
Knowing Sitali Pranayama (or as we call it in Kids Yoga, “The Really Cool Breath”) is like having a built-in air conditioner in your body. Whether the heat is coming from the outside on a hot summer day or the inside when you’re so upset you feel your blood could boil, Sitali Pranayama is there to cool you off and make you comfortable again.
How to do it: Sit up tall Easy Pose or in a chair, contracting the neck just slightly as if to make a double chin. We call this “Neck Lock,” or Jalandhar Bandh in yoga. Close your eyes (unless you’re driving) and stick out your tongue. Curl your tongue into a tube lengthwise, like a taco shape. Inhale deeply through the rolled tongue, close your mouth, and exhale through the nose. Continue breathing in this way for 3-11 minutes. If you can’t roll and extend your tongue as directed, you may gently hold the tongue between the teeth.
“Mother Roasting is showing up for postpartum women in ways no one else will.” ~The Art of Sacred Postpartum
I’ve been working on something new over the past several months. I’ve got a new title even. I’m now a certified Sacred Postpartum Mother Roaster and am launching a new line of services under the name Seva Shakti Mother Care. Seva means service and Shakti is the divine feminine power. In other words, I take good care of new mamas and treat them like the goddesses they are!
As a newly minted Sacred Postpartum Mother Roaster, I am trained in ancient wise woman traditions of honoring, warming, and nourishing postpartum women as they heal and seal from the rawness of birth. Holding space for women as they close the birth journey and cross the threshold from maiden to mother is a special privilege and I am blessed to able to honor families in this way. Having worked with women in the valley since 2008 as a prenatal yoga teacher and mommy & me yoga teacher, becoming a Mother Roaster seemed a natural extension of the work I’ve already been doing with mothers.
What does that really mean, to be a Mother Roaster? I listen to the birth story and hear how things are really going with the new baby. I serve comforting and nutritive herbal teas and lovingly prepared warming and easily digestible soup. I can offer a handmade flower crown and set up a floral bath which helps a new mama to see herself in the beauty way while symbolically washing away the birth. I help new moms let go of their worst fears in a powerful fire fear release ceremony. Card readings from The Mother Wisdom Deck invite reflection and inspire confidence. As postpartum moms tend to feel cold and stagnant after giving birth I use moxa treatments, v-steams, and a hot stone abdominal press to warm her up again and get the energy flowing. A special sealing ceremony called “Closing of the Bones Sacred Tuck In” brings mom back together physically, energetically, and emotionally. Bengkung belly binding, a Malaysian tradition, provides support to the torso and speeds up the healing process. A mother may choose only a couple of services or she may choose them all. My role is to serve the new mother with loving care and witness her transition into motherhood.
Women may choose to combine Mother Roasting services with private Kundalini Yoga & Meditation sessions for maximum benefit.
Lately I have been getting more and more requests for private classes, and it is really something I love to do. There is something really special about getting to know a student well, and tailoring the classes to suit him/her. I love to dig through my yoga manuals and select just the right kriyas and meditations to serve the particular needs of the person I am working with. It is very gratifying also to see people dive deeply into the teachings of Kundalini Yoga. Often those who desire private classes wish to practice also at home and really accelerate their personal growth.
Sometimes people who seek out private classes simply want to experience Kundalini Yoga by themselves a few times before joining a class with others. Sometimes it is because the regular scheduled classes don’t fit into their schedule. And sometimes it is because they feel intimidated by the thought of exercising in a group. Generally, though, people seek out private classes so they can experience a class tailor made for them.
Often as I get to know a student, they will tell me their stories, their health concerns and goals, and other information about them that can help me choose appropriate kriyas and meditations suited for them. The beautiful thing about Kundalini Yoga is that there is pretty much a specific kriya or meditation for everything under the sun. With kriyas with titles like “Stress Set for the Adrenals and Kidneys,” “Abdominal Strengthening Set,” “Firing Up the Metabolism,” “Detoxification,” “Kriya for a Calm and Open Heart,” “To Relieve Inner Anger,” “Glandular System Tune Up,” “To Make the Skin Radiant,” “Refreshing the Nervous System,” “Kriya for Elevation,” “Let the Liver Live,” and “Kriya for Disease Resistance,” (to name just a few) we really can target specific conditions with yoga. And the meditations are countless as well. There are meditations for prosperity, dealing with depression, healing, good luck, removing negative thoughts, boosting self-esteem, becoming more intuitive, healing the wounds of love, and even for keeping up with your children! Truly the possibilities and combinations are almost endless.
Another way to tailor a class to an individual is to do a Tantric Numerology Reading. The numbers of one’s birthday are plugged into an ancient yogic formula, and a reading is given with customized suggestions for a personal yoga practice based on the individual’s results.
For more information and to schedule, please give me a call at (406) 595-2547.
Oh I love babies! One of my favorite things about teaching prenatal yoga is getting to meet the babies after they are born (Oh, so it was YOU in there the whole time). Sometimes I run into their families at the Farmer’s Market or the Co-op, and sometimes they bring them in for show and tell during tea time after a prenatal class. Postnatal Yoga/Mommy and Me Yoga is a great opportunity for mamas to get together and continue their practice, with their babies right there next to them. It is part of building community, and I feel so blessed to watch it unfold. Sat Nam Mamas, and see you next week!