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A Yogic Approach to Caregiving

by Sarah BlunkoskyMother and Daughter by Zinaida SerebriakovaI am the mother of and full-time caregiver for three children senilities 14, 10, and 8. The oldest has both Down syndrome and autism. My yoga for caregiving is centered in purpose, without attachment to outcome. I “re just trying” dwell in what needs to be done. My yoga penetrates in the ready of food, the hand of cordial hugs, the cleanse of soiled sheets. My yoga is: The self-giving careThe person cared forThe universe upholding those cared forSo my yoga becomes a practice for all.I often come to this verse from the Bhagavad Gita restated by Vedanta scholar and yoga educator Swami Venkatesananda: III/ 19. Therefore, without attachment do thou alwaysperform act which should be used( duties and responsibilities ). For, byperforming action without attachment subject contacts the supreme.Especially for my eldest daughter, Josie, I am not attached to her taking care of me in return one day. Likely, because I do not depend on the eldest to care for me one day, I too do not expect any of my children to care for me. Perhaps this is from losing my mother at sixteen and not participating filial reverence in action for elder care. I’ll be grateful for whatever( if anything) is offered later in life, but the expectation is not currently embed in my future. I too do not expect my children to fulfill my dreams for me. I craved each of them, fiercely, and my sole desires for them are to assist their travels as long as they need me.I am would be consistent with the making of maintenance. I am aligned with the devoting of pity. My aim is ahimsa( non-harm ). When I occasionally madnes inside or multitude a bit of an internal disobedience, I try to go on a long walk, vehicle razz, or hike in the lumbers. The muck–the fear, the stress, the cascading blood pressure, checked breath–all arise in the caregiving day. Caregiving for a loved one, young or old-fashioned, especially those with significant and complex medical conditions, one often sits with fear of loss, each day, often for several instances and moments. During this pandemic anxiety greets me frequently when I sit on and off of my yoga mat. I do not know if my eldest daughter will subsist if she comes ill from COVID-1 9. She’s had three hospitalizations for viral-induced pneumonias in her fourteen years of life, and I do not know how she will treat COVID-1 9. I likewise do not know how my son’s severe asthma will show up with COVID-1 9. I myself have asthma and psoriatic arthritis, so my own state and interaction with this pandemic nature does not feel optimum.When I feel desirous or unsettled, active asana practice moves the vigor a bit, tries to ground anxiety into steadier springs, and sometimes removes stuck-ness, like unclogging a exhaustion, going paraphernaliums moving the machine of person, mind, force, reconnecting those set gondolas and have’ em greasing runways again. I like amiable and desiring cycles, such as these: Tadasana( Mountain pose ), coming into Utkatasana( Chair pose ), and then sometimes wiggling and shifting into Malasana( Garland pose) Marjaryasana( Cat ), Bitilasana( Cow ), and then Balasana( Child’s pose) So much goes into caring that my asana practice is often taking a few powerful asanas and really trying to enjoy the yumminess of each posture and the transition into each. As my dear friend Amy educated me, “Each transition is also a pose.”Viparita Karani( Legs Up the Wall pose ). This is often where I try to throw myself spiritually up there, feeling a bit ragdoll like, half in submission and residual, and half trying to hold parts of myself up that often hide or feel subverted in the ebb and flow of the day. If I race too fast into it, I can damage or feel blah. If I certainly breathe and informality gently, laying down, then doing the amiable scooching my glutes and comfortably slide-turning my legs up to the wall, then the asana became one of succor. I especially adore make my sinuses and feeling a soothing haste of tingling prana in my leader and the lymphatic draining in my legs is yoga joy.Savasana( Corpse pose ). This is where the bones and organs get to sink and slip, my kidneys tingle, and prana percolates around the vital organs, oiling paraphernaliums and offering nutrients for the next day.Often caregiver poses are the ones where I alter between discover forte, to be presented to God/ cosmo/ infinite tie-in of season and space, and meet research in the interrupt where my head, gulp, and mas can stop going in weirdly oblique counselings of energy paths cascading intertangled, but come back together, x stigmatizing the distinguish where integration happens.I sit with breath. The basic and most profound pranayama practices are still where I often struggle and are some of my greatest homes to work. I begins with communicating my focus to the breath( I lose it often in other focuses–paying the statutes, doing the dishes, giving the barking dog out the back door) and trying to spend more time with the breath, open to this truth that with greater awareness of my breathing, I find greater focus in my mind and connection to my person. So sometimes I begins with: Listening to my breath.Feeling my breath move into my nostrils, cheek, and specific areas of my chest.Asking if my wheeze is going deeper into my back lungs or feeling shallower, caught in this feeling like I can’t ended a yawn( this is always a source of stress or pause for me ). If my sigh is not feeling at ease, I “re just trying” making greater calmnes to it in one or several practises: I breathe deep into the back lungs/ rib areas.I lift up my weapons and back bending over to the opposite side, then breathe into the lung tissue under the armpit, making turns on each side.I sit or stand against a wall, close my gazes, and try to breathe, feeling reinforced and safe against the sturdiness of the wall and calmer with less sensory stimulation to my eyes.I extend my exhalation, realise my exhalation twice as long as my breath by breathing in for, say, a weigh of 3, then exhaling for, say, a counting of 6. Then I gradually lengthen my exhalation even more in the hopes of slowing any racing-ness of my stomach from stress.I have also found that adapting my reflection pattern to sit with fear, accepting many principles and instructions from the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Tonglen meditation, welcoming the suffering in, breathing out more love into the world, has been a center in constant whirlpool of switches, waves of politics and sounds whizzing by, and fathering to do. My practice is in constant change, recognizing impermanence, trying to hold onto cherish and empathy, and let go of everything else, because the grasping is too tiring and the animosity weighs in my centre. It’s messy and dusty and sneezy–the fluctuation and mystify. Always, within, I find infinite gratitude. Sarah Blunkosky, M.A ., 200 E-RYT, RYT 500, RPYT, RCYT is an integrative education consultant, guaranteed peer-breastfeeding counselor, and cross-file Accessible Yoga instructor specializing in family, children’s, special-needs, and prenatal/ postpartum motion/ quintessence. Her learning life spanned teaching high school social studies at Open High School in Richmond, Virginia to studying slavery and social history on a graduate school path that pivoted when her eldest daughter’s academic disabilities and medical needs necessary an intensive lifestyle shift. She started Learning Heroine LLC in 2015. You got to find her on Instagram and Facebook sharing her dharma/ duty: Set learning free. When she isn’t homeschooling her minors or schooling yoga, you can find her writing articles and working on a volume. A forever student of yoga, she is also studying to become a attested yoga therapist. 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