Yoga for Moms
“Moms don’t do yoga.”
A statement said to me by a friend while I was weeks away from expecting my first child. I wasn’t completely aware of how my life would change with the new arrival, but I knew that couldn’t be true … at least not for me.
This Mom still does yoga. Now in all honesty my yoga practice has changed and changed immensely. I used to be able to devote more time and focus, my practice was more consistent and definitely more athletically driven. However, I find new challenges in my practice throughout each stage.
When my daughter was an infant it was easy to lay her on my mat and make faces at her while I did various poses. She giggled as I moved into Downward Facing Dog and got wide, scared eyes as I descended into my low pushup. On those rare special occasions she napped while I practiced I didn’t always have the energy. Sleep deprivation would lead to a simple restorative practice. As my daughter grew I suddenly realized my yoga practice doubled as “climb the mommy jungle gym time.” Apparently Mom was making all kinds of poses that demanded attention and a good base for tumbling.
As a perfectionist I used to find these situations frustrating. I wanted to be able just to focus on my breath and work on strengthening muscles and releasing tension. Then I began to realize:
The whole point of a yoga practice and one of the largest challenges is to bring our awareness back to the present moment. It isn’t and hasn’t always been the easiest to bring my awareness back to the breath while being treated like a bouncy house or with loud demands from the household princess echoing in the background. There are times I need to step off my mat and attend to needs. I treat it just as I would losing my balance in a pose. Find my breath and from that breath approach the pose.
Sometimes I find myself holding my breath and I have to let go and refocus. One truth is more distractions and challenges have equaled more opportunities for growth.
Ideally I would do my practice before my little sweet girl wakes up or at night after she goes to bed. Life doesn’t always allow such luxuries. There are days when, after Daddy gets home, I not-so-patiently tell him I need some time to myself and lock the bedroom door to do a practice. There are also times when I’m frazzled and his not-so-subtle response may be, “You didn’t get a chance to do your yoga today, did you?”
Yes, my practice has changed. These days it usually includes my three-year-old sidekick next to me on her own mat asking every five seconds if the pose goes like this or asking what the name is for whatever pose she has invented is. (Her self-created alligator pose is her favorite). Some days she asks me why I breathe like a monster when I do yoga. My practice isn’t usually without interruptions, but neither is life. The challenge is to come back to the present moment, to observe, and just to be. A lesson that I have learned to a greater degree as a mother.