Balancing Motherhood with Ayurveda and Yoga: Nourishing Ourselves on the Journey
“We can be mothers who nurture others and perhaps even our own businesses, but we can only do that when we first learn how to nourish ourselves.”
Verena Gayatri Primus
Hello my Dear Moms,
Motherhood is a beautiful journey, but it’s also one of the most demanding roles we’ll ever embrace. As a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and a mother myself, I understand the challenges modern mothers face. The common thread is the quest for balance, self-care, and staying connected to our own needs.
In this blog, I’ll simplify Ayurveda’s essential teachings to help you achieve that balance. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Wholesome Foods: Nourishing your body and soul.
- Regular Meal Times: Bringing structure and nourishment to your day.
- Daily Routines: Reducing stress and anxiety through consistency.
- Yoga and Exercise: Boosting physical and mental well-being.
- Herbs and Supplements: Incorporating natural support.
- Mindful Practices: Staying centered and focused.
- Sadhana: Finding inner peace amidst the chaos.
- Joyful Activities: Maintaining your sense of self.
- Quality Time: Strengthening important relationships.
Join me on this journey of self-nourishment, dear mothers. Together, we’ll nurture ourselves as we nurture our families. We’re not just mothers; we’re creators of love, health, and lasting memories for our families.
The Motherhood Journey
Those special times when we look at our children or listen to their innocent chatter, our hearts swell with a love like no other. But let’s be real, motherhood is also one of the most demanding roles we’ll ever embrace. In my coaching sessions and yoga classes, I often hear the heartfelt stories of self-doubt, struggles, and even grief from women just like you. As modern mothers, we gracefully juggle family, careers, and the daily whirlwind of responsibilities while pursuing our dreams and values. In the midst of this beautiful chaos, we often forget the most critical person in the equation: ourselves.
Our challenges are as diverse as our lives, but we share a common thread:
- How can we find and maintain balance?
- How can we prioritize self-care?
- How can we be devoted mothers without losing ourselves in the process?
This journey is intricate, but even in the busiest of times, we can find our unique balance—I know because I’ve been there myself. I’m Verena Gayatri, a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist, Ayurveda-Yoga therapy teacher, and Coach. I’m not just a practitioner; I’m also a mother who has walked this path. My life’s mission is to guide and nurture women through every stage of their motherhood journey, and I’ve developed Ayurveda-Yoga Coaching Programs tailored to each milestone phase:
- Preconception and Conception.
- Pregnancy and Birth.
- Postpartum and the First Year of Motherhood.
- The Ongoing Motherhood Journey.
- Motherhood during Perimenopause and Menopause.
From preconception to ongoing motherhood, I understand the common thread that ties every mother’s experience together: the quest to strike a balance, prioritize self-care, and remain connected to our own needs.
Why Self-Nourishment Matters:
I’m here to remind you that in order to be the best mothers we can be, we must first learn how to nourish ourselves. Self-nourishment isn’t a luxury; it’s an absolute necessity. In this blog, I’ll simplify some of Ayurveda’s essential teachings and share practical approaches I’ve gathered throughout my 25-year career. These insights have helped countless clients and students find that elusive balance.
I wholeheartedly believe that every mother can find this balance, and my extensive experience in the field has shown me the transformative power of these principles.
They are here for you to follow and give you support on your unique motherhood journey.
1.) Wholesome Foods: Nourishing Body and Soul
Let’s begin our journey by embracing the foundation of a well-balanced diet and exploring the profound significance of nourishing both our bodies and souls with wholesome, nutritious foods. As mothers, we’re often the orchestrators of our family’s culinary desires, ensuring everyone’s preferences are met. But it’s essential to remember that to care for our loved ones effectively, we must first care for ourselves. So, no more settling for eating only what the children like and finishing the leftovers on their plates (believe me, I’ve heard it all!). It’s time to choose recipes that resonate with both you and your partner, and if needed, make thoughtful adjustments to accommodate your children’s tastes.
Wholesome foods are not just about counting calories and nutrients; they transcend the realm of sustenance to nourish your very spirit. Ayurveda emphasizes that for optimal digestion, food should not only taste and look appealing but also be consumed in a pleasant environment. Therefore, let’s wholeheartedly embrace a diet teeming with colorful fruits, vibrant vegetables, nourishing whole grains, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats. These foods will supply you with the energy and sustenance essential for your demanding role as a mother.
I’ve had countless mothers confide in me, revealing that apart from a substantial breakfast or a modest cup of coffee paired with dessert in the afternoon, they often consume very little throughout the day. It’s no surprise that, come evening, they sometimes find themselves overwhelmed and on the brink of exhaustion. If this sounds familiar, I encourage you to consider each bite you take as an act of self-love. Understand that by nourishing yourself, you equip yourself with the resilience needed to care for your loved ones and gracefully manage the multitude of tasks that fill your day. Just as high-profile business managers allocate time for a luxurious work lunch, you, as a devoted mother, equally deserve this level of self-care.
The Art of Wholesome Eating
Wholesome eating is more than just making dietary choices; it’s a beautifully crafted art. After all, you can have the finest ingredients at your disposal, but if your body doesn’t digest them well, you won’t unlock the energy and benefits they hold for both you and your family. In Ayurveda, it’s not just about the foods you select; it’s about adhering to specific guidelines for healthy eating, which are even more crucial than the ingredients themselves. These guidelines encompass mindfulness and intention, helping your body digest, absorb, and assimilate the foods you consume, ensuring genuine nourishment for yourself and your family.
Since this is quite a big topic, I have written a separate blog article called ‘The Art of Wholesome Eating,’ in which we delve into how you can seamlessly incorporate some of these Ayurvedic principles into your daily life with Meal Planning, Cooking Together, Mindful Eating, Staying Hydrated, Healthy Snacking, Treating Yourself, and sharing a meal as a family together. If you want to go deeper into this topic, go here.
2.) Regular Meal Times: The Rhythm of Nourishment
Establishing regular meal times is like creating a soothing rhythm in your day, allowing you to plan and prioritize nourishment for both yourself and your family. In the whirlwind of motherhood, it’s all too easy to become ensnared in chaos. However, dedicating specific times for meals can introduce much-needed structure and equilibrium into your daily routine.
For many of my clients, adopting regular meal times has been a pivotal change in their holistic health and wellness journey. They often share that it not only instills regularity, positively impacting their appetite, digestion, and weight management, but also imparts a profound sense of stability and organization into what can otherwise be a chaotic schedule. This newfound order grants them a heightened sense of control, ultimately reducing stress and bolstering their empowerment over their own time.
The Family That Eats Together
You know, family meals are more than just nourishing our bodies; they’re about nurturing our family bonds and precious moments of togetherness.
It breaks my heart to hear stories of families, even those who are well-educated and lead apparently sophisticated lives, not sharing meals. Instead, they describe how everyone comes and goes, grabbing whatever happens to be in the fridge or the snack drawer, making cold salads or quick pasta dishes, or heating up processed foods. In some places, like Austria and Germany, it’s still common to have bread, cheese, or cold cuts for dinner. While this may seem simple and time-saving, it’s not ideal for you and your children.
Consuming refined carbohydrates in the form of bread disrupts blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to restless sleep and fermentation processes in your intestines that harm your microbiome, which is responsible for your overall health and immunity. According to Ayurveda, evening meals should be warm, well-cooked, and easy to digest to ensure optimal nourishment and the best quality of sleep.
A concerning story related to this topic: A befriended school director shared with us that, at the request of parents, he must practically force children to eat their freshly cooked lunches at school because they don’t receive proper meals at home for the rest of the day. It’s quite perplexing, isn’t it? I’m not entirely sure why that is—perhaps busy schedules, lack of awareness, or financial constraints. In any case it is shocking to me. You and I both know that our primary role, as mothers and families, is to nourish our loved ones, not just with education and extracurricular activities but first and foremost with love, in the form of nourishing meals and daily routines.
So, let’s make time for a proper, but early dinner as a family. We’ll use this special time to have meaningful (but not overly emotional) chats, share stories, and talk about our day. By making regular meals a priority, we’re not just filling our tummies; we’re filling our family’s hearts and souls.
3.) Daily Routines: Finding Freshness and Calm
Creating daily routines is a powerful tool in the toolkit of motherhood. It’s the art of starting your day with a burst of freshness and wrapping it up with a soothing sense of calm. These routines are your allies, ensuring you have abundant energy and unwavering focus for the day, as well as a restful night’s sleep. In the ever-turning whirlwind of motherhood, these structured habits, designed both for yourself and your children, provide a stabilizing force, reducing stress and anxiety. They not only grant you peace of mind but also save precious energy that can be otherwise spent.
The Magic of Morning and Evening Rituals
Kickstart your day with a morning routine that incorporates self-care practices like meditation, Yoga, gentle stretching, or journaling. Many of my clients find immense joy in a short self-care ritual that includes body brushing and a soothing self-massage with fragrant aromatherapy oils, either in the shower or afterward. This dedicated “me time” sets a positive tone for the day ahead and instills a sense of accomplishment right from the start.
Additionally, establishing bedtime routines for your children can be a game-changer. It not only ensures they get the rest they need but also carves out precious time for yourself and some quality moments with your partner. This helps unwind after a day filled with a multitude of tasks, decisions, and responsibilities. Remember, the quality of your nighttime rest is directly linked to how well you prepare for it. Adequate, quality sleep is paramount for us moms.
Remember, a good night’s sleep is a precious gift we can give ourselves, and by doing so, we become even more resilient, patient, and nurturing mothers. So, my dear fellow moms, embrace these daily rhythms, and let them infuse your life with the freshness and calmness you need to thrive on this beautiful journey of motherhood.
Keep in mind, a well-rested mom is a better-equipped mom!
4.) Yoga and Exercise: Cultivating Physical Well-Being
Taking care of your physical health isn’t just about staying in shape; it’s about cherishing your body and mind. In a world where we often find ourselves sitting more than we move, our bodies and moods yearn for the joy of movement and fresh air. I get it; sometimes, the couch and a scrolling thumb can be tempting, but trust me, a short burst of activity can work wonders for your spirit.
Release Stress, Boost Your Mood, and Connect
Regular yoga and exercise routines provide a fantastic opportunity to shed stress, lift your mood, and reconnect with yourself. It’s not just about staying fit; it’s about feeling alive and vibrant. We moms have demanding roles, and it’s essential to keep our energy and strength up to the task.
Discovering the Joy of Movement
Choose activities that genuinely light you up, whether it’s yoga, a brisk walk, a dance party in the living room, or anything else that gets your heart pumping and your spirits soaring. It doesn’t have to be an hours-long commitment; even just 10-15 minutes of mindful movement can make a world of difference.
Ayurveda suggests jumpstarting your day with a short but refreshing Yoga practice, like a quick round of 12 Sun Salutations. It’s a beautiful way to breathe, move, and stretch, all rolled into one flowing sequence. Or, consider walking to school or work instead of hopping in the car or bus. These simple choices not only get you moving but also set a healthy example for your kids.
So, dear moms, let’s make movement a part of our daily routine. Embrace the joy of staying active, and you’ll discover a newfound zest for life, better equipped to tackle the beautiful chaos of motherhood.
5.) Herbs and Supplements: Your Natural Allies
Hello Wonderful Moms,
Let’s talk about those times when we could use a little extra support – and why not tap into Mother Nature’s wisdom for that boost? Incorporating herbs and supplements into your daily routine can be like giving yourself a little extra love. You know how it is; life gets busy, and sometimes we need a helping hand.
Nature’s Remedies: A World of Possibilities
In the world of holistic wellness, Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have a treasure trove of herbs and supplements to offer. These natural wonders can address specific needs, whether it’s boosting your immune system, finding hormonal balance, or ramping up your energy levels.
Some of these herbs, like Ashwagandha (the superhero for your nervous system and sleep quality), Triphala (your best digestive friend when it comes to proper elimination), or Turmeric (a famous anti-inflammatory found in, spice mixes, teas, or even fresh at your local supermarket), have become quite popular lately. They’re readily available and can be used without a prescription. But hold on, there’s a catch!
Personalized Care: Know Your Constitution
In Ayurveda, herbs are not a one-size-fits-all deal. They’re prescribed based on your unique constitution and the specific nature of your imbalance. That’s why it’s crucial to consult an Ayurvedic specialist like me. Together, we can determine what works best for you and your well-being.
A Word of Caution
Before you embark on a supplement shopping spree, consider this: Your doctor can be your best ally. A proper blood test can reveal what your body truly needs. It’s a smarter approach than diving into a sea of expensive vitamins, minerals, or phytonutrients blindly.
These natural remedies can be powerful tools on your journey to self-nourishment, and they’re a shining jewel in the crown of Ayurvedic preventive self-care. So, dear moms, consider them your natural allies, here to support you on your beautiful journey.
6.) Mindfulness Practices: Finding Your Center
In the whirlwind of our daily lives, it’s so easy to lose ourselves, isn’t it? That’s why I always recommend to fellow moms that we find three little things each day to appreciate ourselves and bring us back to our center. I call it “The Magic of The Three Little Things.”
Now, these little things can be as simple as a short prayer or a sweet song before a meal. Maybe a few deep, calming breaths in the car before picking up your energetic bundle of joy. Or indulging in your favorite aromatherapy hand lotion – a little touch of luxury amidst the everyday chaos.
The Gift of Mindfulness
Let’s talk about mindfulness, dear moms. It’s all about being fully present in the moment, savoring and relishing the little joys. Mindfulness is a mighty tool to combat stress, elevate your well-being, and reconnect with yourself – even in the midst of motherhood’s wild ride.
So, consider this your invitation to practice simple mindfulness daily. Take a pause to appreciate the vibrant colors of the flowers on your porch, the comforting warmth of that cup of tea, or the sweet scent of your child’s hair as you plant a gentle kiss on their soft head. It’s simplicity at its finest, and it’s truly magical when you slow down to appreciate the here and now.
So, let’s embrace “The Magic of The Three Little Things” together and find our center amid the beautiful chaos of motherhood. You’ve got this, moms!
7.) Sadhana: Nurturing Inner Peace
In the midst of our bustling lives, reconnecting with our spiritual source through daily sadhana or spiritual practices can be like finding a hidden treasure chest for managing the demands of motherhood. Sadhana is your key to unlocking a deeper well of inner peace and strength.
Now, let’s be honest, before becoming mothers, many of us had practices like meditation, yoga, qigong, or journal writing as essential parts of our lives. But once the whirlwind of motherhood hit, these practices often took a back seat. They might have seemed like a luxurious indulgence when there were countless practical tasks and endless to-do lists. I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling of having only 12 hours in a 24-hour day!
Embrace the Sacred
Whether it’s meditation, prayer, chanting, or any other spiritual practice, it’s an opportunity to nourish your connection to your soul or your true nature – whichever resonates with you personally. These moments of introspection and connection can provide the emotional resilience needed to gracefully navigate the challenges of motherhood.
It’s often easiest to find these moments of tranquility in nature or while connecting with your breath. Even in the midst of a bustling city or a racing mind, that stillness and silence exist. Grab hold of these moments of quiet and make them a cherished practice, in whatever way feels most natural to you. From this inner source of wisdom and strength comes the guidance you need, even during life’s toughest moments. Cultivate this relationship with the peaceful, wise part within you, dear moms, and watch how it transforms your journey through motherhood. You’ve got this!
8.) Joyful Activities: Maintaining Your Sense of Self
As mothers, we often prioritize the happiness of our families above our own. But amidst the bustling roles and responsibilities of motherhood, please don’t forget to engage in activities that bring you pure joy and connection. It’s not just about happiness; it’s about maintaining your sense of self, your unique essence that makes you who you are.
Ayurveda teaches us that through experiencing joy, we boost our Ojas, our inherent immune strength. Ojas isn’t just about warding off physical ailments; it’s also the guardian of our mental and emotional stability. And let’s not forget what Yoga tells us – there are four goals of life, and one of them is Kama, which translates to the enjoyment of pleasure. So, don’t let this delightful part of life pass you by!
Rediscover Your Spark
Find your joy and fulfillment in hobbies, creative pursuits, or simply by dedicating time to the things that make your heart sing. When you nurture your own happiness, you become a happier, more fulfilled mother and partner. Think of yourself as a fragrant rose, radiating a beautiful scent that everyone around you can’t help but enjoy. You deserve it, dear moms!
9.) Quality Time: Cultivating the Connection to Your Partner
Amidst the busyness of motherhood, it’s absolutely vital to set aside precious moments for your most cherished relationships. These connections are the foundation of your support system. I’ve seen countless clients in tears, feeling like they’ve lost their connection with their partners since welcoming their little ones into the world. It’s a common challenge, you are not alone with this.
The daily hustle and bustle can consume your time and energy, leaving little room for emotional and physical intimacy. As your family grows, finding that time and energy for one another becomes even more crucial. I vividly remember our first midwife’s advice to my husband and me: “A happy couple leads to a happy child.” She encouraged us to prioritize our relationship, and her words have stayed with me.
Schedule Love Dates
Make it a priority to put at least one evening date and one weekend date on your calendar each week. You don’t always need a babysitter or elaborate plans. Sometimes, simply spending quiet moments talking, watching a movie, or going to bed early to enjoy each other’s company is enough. Even in the busiest of times, aim for a date night at least once a month, whether it’s a stroll in your neighborhood, an early dinner, or whatever delights your hearts.
Remember, you never lose your need for romance, sensuality, and intimacy, even after becoming a mother. So take the time to nourish these aspects of yourself as much as any other. Your relationship and your child will benefit from the love and connection you cultivate.
Moments That Truly Matter
Quality time need not be extravagant; it’s about being present and connecting on a deeper level with each other. Whether it’s a heartfelt conversation, a family outing, or a peaceful evening at home, these moments strengthen your bonds and enrich your life as a mother. Cherish them, and next time you kiss your partner good night do it with feeling and a sense of presence!
Three Little Things You Could Do to Nurture Yourself Today
As we conclude our exploration of self-nourishment in motherhood, I encourage you to embark on your journey by incorporating three small yet impactful changes into your life today. Take a moment to choose one or two of the Ayurvedic principles that resonate most with you right now, and consider three practical ways to integrate them into your daily routine. Remember, there’s no need to rush; take it one step at a time. Start with what feels most comfortable and has the greatest positive effect on both you and your family in the present moment.
Here is an example of Three Little Things you could begin with today:
Mindful Morning Moments:
Dedicate a few minutes to a morning ritual that brings you joy and sets a positive tone for the day. This could be a short meditation, deep breathing exercises, or simply savoring a cup of herbal tea in quiet contemplation.
Wholesome Family Meal:
Plan a well-balanced, wholesome meal for your family to enjoy together. Embrace colorful, nutritious ingredients, and create an inviting atmosphere for a nourishing dining experience. Remember, it’s not just about what you eat but also how you eat it that matters.
Quality Evening Connection:
Reserve some time in the evening for a meaningful conversation or shared activity with your partner. Whether it’s a heartfelt conversation, a walk together, or a cozy moment watching your favorite show, nurturing your relationship strengthens your bond and contributes to your overall well-being.
These Three Little Things can be your starting point on the path to self-nourishment in motherhood. As you embrace them and gradually integrate more Ayurvedic principles into your life, you’ll discover a renewed sense of balance, well-being, and fulfillment on your journey as a mother.
You Can Do It!
I firmly believe that you can achieve balance in motherhood while nurturing your own well-being. My expertise and experience are here to support you on this magical journey. Whether you’re looking for guidance on holistic health, Ayurveda-Yoga, or simply a listening ear, I am your trusted companion on your motherhood journey.
Embracing these Ayurvedic principles in your life can truly work wonders. They can bring you a sense of balance, vitality, and inner peace that radiates to your family and loved ones. By prioritizing self-nourishment, you’re not just improving your own well-being; you’re creating a harmonious and joyful environment for those you care for the most.
Balancing motherhood is not easy, but with the right tools and support, it’s entirely possible. Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish; it’s a way to ensure that you can continue to care for those you love. And you don’t have to do it alone!
If you’re seeking a guide and teacher who prioritizes nurturing yourself alongside nurturing others, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m here to help you find that balance and nourish your soul as you navigate this beautiful, challenging journey of motherhood.
Joining one of my programs means you’ll be part of a community of like-minded women who understand the struggles you face. Together, we’ll share solutions, support one another, and improve our lives as we embark on this magical journey.
In conclusion, motherhood is a journey that requires us to continually nourish ourselves, both physically and emotionally. By embracing these Ayurvedic principles like wholesome foods, regular meal times, daily routines, yoga and exercise, herbs and supplements, mindful practices, sadhana, joyful activities, quality time with loved ones, and the three little things we mentioned, you can find the balance you need to thrive in your role as a mother and create a life filled with love, self-care, and boundless joy.
Wishing you a beautiful journey filled with love, self-care, and joy.
Om, Verena Gayatri