You can provide others with the best care possible by looking after your own well-being first. The Canadian Psychological Association points out that caregivers experience stress because of the duration and intensity of their tasks, as well as the grief and loss associated with the illnesses of their family members and friends. This can affect your mood, sleep quality, immune system, and even your relationships.
Furthermore, Donna Thomson previously wrote about caregiver burnout here, and she emphasized that you must practice self-care to prevent experiencing stress. You can extend care towards yourself by trying one of the most effective stress reduction practices: yoga.
Yoga and its Benefits
Yoga is a mind and body practice that originated from India over 5,000 years ago. Centuries later, yoga is well-known all over the world as a calming yet challenging physical activity that is integrated with breathing and meditation techniques.
It is often praised as a great self-care practice because of the numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits that yoga can offer. The New York Times’ guide to yoga enumerates studies that demonstrate its effects, such as reduced back pain and improved posture. Yoga practitioners also showed an increase in their bone density, especially in their spine and hips.
James Gonzales’ article on the benefits of yoga also highlights how it can fix sleep, which is one of the most common problems of caregivers. Studies have shown that this mind and body practice can improve your sleep efficiency and experience in just eight weeks. Moreover, both yoga and sleep can boost your immunity and reduce your stress levels.
1. Get the Props You’ll Need
Apart from a non-slip yoga mat, you might need to invest in a few helpful yoga props. While people with an advanced practice might no longer need them, you can make yoga more enjoyable and effective with a strap, some yoga blocks, and a bolster. Your teacher and video tutorials will instruct you on how you can modify yoga poses with these props.
For example, a bolster is a firm foam that can support your body in various postures. If you have trouble lying on your back with your neck flat, you might need to support your head with it. A block elevates the ground for support if you can’t reach the floor just yet. Meanwhile, a strap is great if you don’t have shoulder mobility to wrap your arms in various positions behind you.
These props are very affordable. And if you can’t invest in them yet, you can use alternatives! Use a stack of books to replace yoga blocks, a belt for a strap, and a regular old pillow as your bolster and you’re good to go!
2. Find Tutorial Videos Online
If you want to test whether yoga is suitable for your needs or not, then you can try yoga in your home first. This method is also suitable for caregivers who are pressed for time or for those who want to be accessible to their loved ones at all times.
There are various instructional videos on YouTube that might help, all you really need is to type ‘Yoga’ or ‘Yoga for Beginners’ into the search bar. Or, you can also try these beginner yoga poses on the Yoga Journal, and create your own sequence of yoga poses. However, we recommend looking at videos so you can better understand how to get into each pose with the teacher’s expert cues and demonstration.
3. Practice with an Instructor
If you want to take your practice to the next level, consider enrolling in a yoga class! Yoga instructors can enrich your experience by providing you with a wide array of routines that you can try in your practice. Furthermore, they can provide you with much-needed guidance so that you can improve the alignment of your positions, and modifications based on your level and specific needs.
If you want to work with a qualified instructor, sign up for online or in-studio classes with yoga studios in Ontario, such as Yoga Tree and Breathe Yoga Studio.
You can boost your overall health as well as improve your relationships and interactions with the people you care for by making time for your yoga practice. This can easily be done on your own or with the help of an instructor. All you need to do is to dedicate a certain amount of time so that you can take care of yourself before you take care of others.
Article written by Roseanne James
Exclusively for caregivingmatters.ca