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Oxygen Mask

When I went on my first few plane rides with my kids, I would listen attentively to the safety review especially when the stewardess would tell me that in case of an emergency, I should put on my oxygen mask first before putting them on my kids.

Now, 13 years into parenthood, this idea of the oxygen mask doesn’t just apply to a loss of cabin pressure. It’s taken a more metaphorical meaning for me about the importance of taking care of myself so that I can be well enough physically and emotionally to take care of my family. It’s such simple advice when applied to life and not just to an emergency.

Not only am I a parent who cares for her kids 24/7 but I am also a daughter to an elderly parent. I’m in between two different groups of people who need my help and care. So, if I don’t care of myself first, then I can’t take care of anyone.

I guess that’s why I like this idea of putting on my “oxygen mask” first. In the real world for me, my “oxygen mask” usually comes in the form of my daily meditation and yoga practice. It’s a perfect metaphor because it involves taking deep breaths. Too often we de-prioritize our exercise, meditation and/or yoga practice because we’re too busy, or have too much work to do or have too many overall commitments. However, when we don’t make time for ourselves to do the activities that force us to take deep breaths, than we leave ourselves more vulnerable to allowing the daily stressors of life to heavily wear on our mind and body.

So, let’s take some advice from the airlines and make sure to always put on your "oxygen mask" first. Then, take a deep breath and know that your care of yourself will help you care for everyone you love.


Barb Haynes is a mother of 3 and has been practicing yoga since she was pregnant with her first child over 12 years ago. She started with Iyengar. She's tried Bikram, Kundalini, and Hot Yoga, but her favorite style is Vinyasa Flow, which is all about movement and breath. The benefits of yoga are for both mind and body which is why she loves it so much and which is why she completed her 200-hour teacher training at the end of last year.

Meditate with Barb Haynes on the Yoga Wake Up app!

  • Reset Meditation: 7:32min

  • Heart Meditation: 7:51min

*You can also read more from Barb on her personal blog: http://barbfit.blogspot.com/