Book Review: Mindfulness for Mothers

Mindfulness for mothers

I don’t normally get the Weekend paper but back in March I did. Perhaps I was meant to because there was a wonderful article titled ‘Calming the chaos’ in the Kidspot section. The article was promoting a book – Mindfulness for Mothers by Rebecca Ryan.

Calming the chaosAnd so began a series of emails and eventually a face to face meeting with Rebecca – the writer – (who I didn’t know before reading the paper) at her book launch in Sydney last week. I'm so pleased I brought that paper!

Today’s article is being written for a couple of reasons :
1 – living and therefore working mindfully benefits everyone, and
2 – the book is great and contains everything you need to achieve the first reason!

I’m going to write this blog in 2 sections, today will be a review of the book and a Q & A with Rebecca, and next week will be about the benefits of being a published author.

Mindfulness for Mothers – The Book

Mindfulness for Mothers1I  got an immense amount from reading this book, both personally and from a business perspective.

The book is written for Mothers however if you replace the word mother with ‘business owner’, ‘overworked woman’, ‘stressed out lady (or man)’… then this book is for you too. Simply change ‘mother’ to how you identify.

Rebecca has cleverly broken the book into 4 parts.

Part 1 Why mothers and mothers-to-be should meditate

You’ll find out the benefits of meditation, what it feels like and how you know if it’s working.

I am a part time meditator (and was before reading this book) – I say part time because I’m still working towards making it a daily practice. I will do really well for a few weeks and then for whatever reason I stop!

I nearly skipped this part because I was already ‘practicing meditation’ but didn’t because I wanted the review to be genuine and I’m so pleased I read it. There are nuggets of gold all the way through this section, one in particular is,

“Finally, when you meditate, be kind to yourself, expect to feel distracted, expect that your mind will wander, and accept that this is part of the practice.”

Part 2 Meditations with your child

You’ll find 10 meditations ranging from 10 seconds to 30 minutes you can do with your child (or co-worker, partner etc).

Rebecca has cleverly laid the book out in such a way that each meditation (and it’s benefits) are on 1 page spread so you never need to turn the page.

She offers suggestions about when you can do each meditation and why your should try it.

An example is a 2 minute ‘before you eat centering’ meditation which helps you eat with awareness and improve digestion.

Part 3 Meditations for time alone

There are 11 meditations in this section – it’s my favourite section of the book – again ranging from 10 seconds to 30 minutes. Every one of these meditations has the ability to improve any person’s day – or present moment so for this part alone I’d recommend you buy the book! Click Here to buy a copy.

Part 4 Create your own meditation practice

This part shows you how you can incorporate meditation into your daily routine. Rebecca thoughtfully discusses how to create habits (rather than relying on willpower) and how your beliefs play a role too. These 2 words – habit and belief – are paramount for anything we undertake which makes this a really powerful section.

The book finishes with what ‘om’ is and other yoga terms, which is also really useful if you’re like me and need to know these sort of things.

The Book Launch

Listening to Rebecca talk about her book at the launch made it even more special – one thing that really jumped out was she wrote this whole book by hand – yes good old fashioned pen and paper – and you get this sense when you’re reading it.

Elly Hurley Rebecca Ryan

Rebecca Ryan, me & her wonderful book

I asked Rebecca a few questions and have included these with her responses below.

Elly: Could you tell me a little about how the book Mindfulness for Mothers came about?

Rebecca: Mindfulness for Mothers came about from my own experience of being a meditator and having my regular, slightly rigid, practice thrown into chaos after becoming a mother. As a pre and post natal yoga teacher I saw how my students also struggled to fit meditation and mindfulness into their days. My idea was to write a book to teach mothers how to integrate these practices, and all the great benefits, into their day-to-day lives. I know from my life that it can be difficult to find ways and time for meditation especially when your children are young. Sometimes new mothers have very little time for themselves. This is why there are techniques in my book that are designed to be done with children around. In this way mums don’t have to wait to be alone to practice mindfulness. I focus on shorter frequent mindfulness exercises in my book as well as including some longer techniques to work towards when you can find time alone. All of my techniques are based on ancient practices and backed by modern science.

Elly: Mindfulness is used a lot today – in everything from business to kids at school. How long have you been practicing mindfulness yourself and what drew you to it initially?

Rebecca: Mindfulness is used a lot today. When I first started a regular yoga and meditation practice 16 years ago I don’t think I would even have considered mindfulness as the word to describe what is clearly a mindfulness practice. I was drawn to yoga for practical reasons and at first saw it as mainly physical exercise. I was working in London I wanted to do classes at my gym so that I had a regular fitness practice without having to brave the weather during the colder months. There was a yoga class that was recommended by a friend and I went along. I had been living in Singapore and my main exercise there was swimming but that was not as practical in London. Looking back, one of the things I liked about swimming was the steady, rhythmic breathing and the relaxing feel of being in the water. I think I had been using swimming as my mindfulness practice. I was quickly hooked on yoga. I had a great teacher who encouraged us to have a home practice and also to see yoga as much more than the postures (or asana). That grounding set the tone for what I am hoping will be a lifelong mindfulness practice for me.

Elly: Did you consciously choose to work with mothers, (or did it just happen that way)?

Rebecca: I chose very deliberately to work with mothers. I started yoga teacher training when my first child was just 18 months old. I had practiced many different types of yoga but I knew that as a teacher prenatal yoga would be my speciality. Given this, it is not surprising that when I was completing my year-long yoga teacher training I looked at the yogic philosophy, the physical postures, the meditation and breathing exercises through the lens of new motherhood. With a young child myself I was often thinking ‘how can I share this with other mothers?’ This desire to share these practices with other mothers is what lead me to write my book. By teaching meditation and mindfulness in a book I knew that I could reach more mothers than just those who came to my pre and post natal yoga classes.

Elly: Have you found working (specifically) with mothers has made it easier for you to market your classes and book?

Rebecca: My book and my classes draw so much from my own experience and personal practice that in a sense I am my own customer so I know what I want. This does make it easier in a way. There are, however, many types of mothers and many varied life experiences. In my writing and my teaching I look for ways to find the common ground of motherhood. I try to focus on what is similar for us as mothers, rather than on the ways in which we differ. Also, I have tried to distill the essence of the mindfulness practices that I teach so that other mothers can adapt them to suit their own particular circumstances.

Elly: What 3 bits of advice would you offer to someone who wants to write a book?

Rebecca: As I complete newbie with one book published I struggle to give 3 pieces of advice for others wanting to write a book, but I can manage one tip. Write what you love! Meditation is my passion and mothers are my favourite students. I care deeply about mothers and their situations and I know first hand that meditation has been a life raft in stormy seas for me. Because I was writing about something I loved I really didn’t spend much time thinking about what voice to use or how to best set the tone. I simply wrote what I loved about meditation and how it has helped in my life and let that stand for itself, unadorned and raw. My students respond to this in my classes so I hoped that this would translate to the page.

Once you find the subject that you love and are going to write about, it is completely okay if you don’t know everything about that topic or genre. I did a great deal of research for this book to fill in the gaps between what I knew personally, what I had studied and what others in the field had studied and shared. I learnt so much in the process of planning, researching and writing this book. I learnt crucial things that I didn’t even know would be important when I started writing. So I guess ‘just get started' would be another tip.

Elly: Will we be seeing more books from Rebecca Ryan in the future?

Rebecca: I hope that you will see another book by me. I have so many ideas. Funnily enough, a lot of people have approached me and asked for Mindfulness for ‘XXX' and put themselves at the ‘XXX'. So I have been asked to write, amongst other things, Mindfulness for ENT Surgeons! This may be just a bit too niche!


Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of this book. The meditations are super easy to follow and you truly can fit them in to your daily routine. The benefits will become apparent pretty quickly and we should always find time for small pleasures!

Mindfulness for Mothers by Rebecca Ryan is published by Macmillan Australia and available now – Click Here for your copy!


About The Author

Elly Hurley

Elly is a Co-Founder of Nudge Marketing, a marketing training company owned and run by women showing small business owners how to grow their business by driving traffic, generating leads and building automated marketing funnels to sell their services and products. As a Certified Digital Marketing Professional, Ontraport Certified Consultant and an NLP Trainer, Elly offers a holistic approach to business - possessing both the technical and behavioural knowledge required in this digital age. Visiting Facebook HQ and signing the wall is on her Bucket List.

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