Yoga while doing housework?

Add housework to the list of things you look forward to doing. You must be saying… “What?”  Well, the theory is this:  parenting maintenance tasks are a must.  There is not an option of parenting without maintenance. Why not love your job? O.k.  Before you answer, I will give my guidelines for loving your maintenance job.

First, breathe into each required movement. You will gain immediate benefit from the mind~body~spirit connectivity that is generated when you synchronize your body’s movement with life force (breath) and intention (well-being).

Example: If we are talking laundry, then breathe-out as you squat or pick up a dirty garment.  Breathe-in and center yourself with love. Breathe-out as you throw or deposit that laundry into a category or machine: color, wrinkle-able, etc.

Second, twist a little further than you are required. Many maintenance tasks involve twisting the trunk of your body:  dishes, laundry transfer and folding. Twisting the trunk squeezes and releases toxins from your internal organs. Enjoy dish-washing, knowing every dish gets you lighter, especially if you breathe into and out of the twist. Breath-in while straightening your spine; breathe out as you let your guts lead and head follow into and out of every twist.

Third, bend in a good way; improve your posture every time you reach for something on the ground.  Picking up clutter from the floor and washing your child’s hair (standing while they are sitting in the bathtub) can increase vigor instead of providing only wear and tear. Example one: perform a RIGHT-ANGLE yoga pose to lengthen your body as you bend forward and keep your trunk outright, hips anchored, chin tucked and connected with muscles in your core. Example two:  bend at the hip crease to perform a SLOW-MOTION DIVE; keep your spine straight instead of bending your lower back.  This pose is wonderful for a good night’s sleep. Example three: SQUAT to invigorate your nervous system and improve alignment.

Besides enjoying your performance in maintenance, you can always delegate tasks that kids can do.  Some tasks are more work for you, when your child helps… Delegate carefully. Also, let kids understand the value of a happy parent. A speech about the benefits of a happy mom sends my 5 year old toward quiet, independent play.

Before a maintenance task, I suggest a couple of quiet play activities to my 5 and 3 year olds. The alternative, whenever I am asked while cleaning, is that the kids take an even greater role in household maintenance or take a time out in their room.

Please, comment if you have additions to this approach!  From every lemon, we can make lemon cookies, lemonade, lemon frosting, lemon-pepper linguini, etc.

~Christy Camp (Yoga Parent)

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