There is a beautiful clear space, with windows open for the breeze to blow gently in and out over the sheer curtains. And there on the bare flooring is me resting gently on my yoga mat. Songs of birds chirp in the background and I’m there, eyes closed listening to the rise and fall of my breath….
I’m suddenly brought back to my reality with a pounce on my stomach and my 2 yr. old son is sitting on top of me. “Open eyes Mommy, you doing yoga?” “Yes”, I smile and am returned to my actual space. My family room floor on my yoga mat with Classical music playing in the background, toys strewed all around me and my 4yr old daughter on her mat next to mine asks, “Can I teach now?”.
Motherhood and yoga… Balancing in life!
I used to feel very frustrated when I first started my “at home” practice with having my 2 little ones. I would try to set the scene, music on, maybe some incense burning, lay my mat out in just the right space. This done of course after I have cleaned, done laundry, washed dishes etc… basically anything to procrastinate “my time”. Ok kids, you have your time here, watch your show, have your snacks, mommy is going to practice her yoga and then we’ll all go out to the playground. Yeah right!
It was inevitable, they slowly draw closer to me, “what you doin mommy?” Responding from a twisting bind, “Yoga”. One crawls under me playing that I am a bridge while in downward dog and the other tries to climb my leg up onto my back yelling “RIDE!” This was not the blissful yoga I was looking for.
I felt sometimes like my “to do list”, the kids, etc… was more important. That I had to have the perfect space, the right music, lighting and so on. “Yoga is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.” I kept hearing my teachers voice say it over and over, and once I started using that, practice and making a more mindful effort I found as a mom, I was able to begin to let go of everything else around me sometimes, and just be present. I used to have a problem with my balance poses, I would always fall down and I couldn’t quiet my mind.
“Sometimes I still fall down. But what happens when our kids fall? We tell them to get up and try again. So I took the aged advice and kept trying. And I can now say that doing balance poses is one of my favorites because no matter what is happening around me I have learned to train my mind to let it go and just be present for just a few moments and breathes.”
There is the 8 limb system in yoga. In it contains the Yamas (restrains), Niyama (Self-disciplines), Asana (Poses), Pratayahara (sensory withdrawal), Pranayama (breath), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (Mediation) and finally, Samadi (Union with the Divine). I decided to look back on these and reflect and understand that yoga is only about 10% of the Asanas (poses) the rest is the practice of what you are doing off your mat. Using your breath, being present in our actions and words. I decided to begin practicing one of the Yamas, “Ahimssa”, non-violence in your words and actions. I tried to come to a space where I could show my children more than just poses. Don’t get me wrong – they love doing their downward dogs and playing teachers. But I learned for myself to use my breath to calm down when situations got crazy in the house. To slow down and take things from the present moment and see through my child’s eyes.
Using examples in our daily lives, another Yama, “Satya” to speak truthfully and positively with love and acceptance. We can all use this, to give ourselves as moms a break, we do a lot! Do those things with an intention of love and patience and positive light. Our children look up to us, and while we are balancing our lives through work, daily house chores, shopping lists, meals, laundry and to-do lists and just being there for our children, it is more important now to ground ourselves and let our inner light shine. The vibration of positive light and happiness that you feel your house feels, your children feel, your spouse feels.
Come to your mat, even on days when things aren’t cleaned and straightened up and just sit. Come to your breath, even if it is with a little monkey, I mean child, on your back and smile. Let yourself fill with gratitude and love and be present.
I have only been a mom now for 5 years, and I am going to be honest, I can be kind of a control freak … but keeping with my practice and coming back to my mat, and being diligent in my mind I have definitely learned that I can let go..sometimes.. and just be present. That in itself, to just be there, full attention for our children and incorporate them in our everyday practice is what has made me feel like a mom who is actually in better control of herself and love that is shown to my children.
~ Namaste my friends, Kristina Gibson. RYT200.