After the birth of my third child in 4 ½ years, I jumped back in to exercise and Motherhood, foolishly hoping that all of my routines would pick off where they left off. But, after a stint at a pelvic floor physical therapist and weeks readjusting to motherhood, another version of my post-partum body, and living life, everything needed gentleness…and a break.
It is often forgotten that Motherhood, like yoga, is a daily practice. There are so many variables that go in to both practices that make a difference with how one is able to show up physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. While there is an instinctual ‘doing’ for both practices, so much of what happens on and off the mat are influenced by everything else happening around us.
It also effected how I showed up as Mom. It effected how much patience I was able to demonstrate with ease. It effected how deeply the actions of my children triggered me. And it effected my willingness to Mom-on when all I really wanted to do was take a nap.
In my yoga practice, sleep was a major influence on how my body felt, how deeply into a posture I was willing to go, and how much I tried to push my body. It also was a factor in how long I decided to practice for. If I was really tired, perhaps I’d practice for 20 minutes. However, if I felt more energized, I would practice for longer, even choosing power yoga or a practice with inversions that pushed me to see what I was capable of.
During these moments, I felt like a rock-star on the mat and in my Motherhood. I was present. I was able to move with ease, and bend a little deeper each time. I enjoyed sitting and doing absolutely nothing with my kids. My mind rested during Savasana. My heart expanded watching my children.
However, throughout my month of yoga, I also experienced discord with a friend. And when my mind would consume me with thoughts about the ending of this relationship, I felt bad.
Some days, these thoughts occupied my mind on the mat. They affected my ability to flow and let go. I would notice thoughts about what others were doing or weren’t doing. I recognized thoughts about feeling left out or misunderstood. And in return, my yoga practice suffered. Single leg or balancing postures felt HARD. In these moments, I wanted to quit. During these moments, I wanted to quit.
In my Motherhood, I grew short. I felt I constantly needed to move and keep busy with ‘doing.’ I noticed that because I was feeling badly for myself, I was more likely to snap at my kids. I was easy to agitate and looked for ways to escape parenting, if even for a few moments.
If I was experiencing resistance in an asana, I could refocus my mind to my breath and breathe more deeply in to that physical space.
No matter where I was in my mind, in my body, or in my motherhood, my breath could bring me back to what was; centering me, helping me to feel grounded, and allowing me the gift of perspective and calmness.
These 30 days have given me a deeper look into how readily I embrace either. One thing I know for sure, both yoga and motherhood are spiritual practices, meant to show how to bend, how to embrace all that is happening, and how to tune in to breath as a tool to release resistance and do deeper.