When I step onto my mat, there is nothing else that matters. There are no toys to be picked up, dishes to be cleaned, or clothes to be folded. I am no longer mom. I am me. There is just myself, my mat and my yoga practice.
As I take the first downward dog of the day, I can feel my whole body open up. My spine gets longer, my hamstrings and calf muscles stretch out, and my sinuses clear. For the next 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes, all I have to do is listen and breathe and move.
Over the years, I have taken many yoga classes. Some mediocre, many (thankfully!) not. While on my mat, I often get more out of my practice that just stretching my muscles. I often get a life lesson. Sometimes it is a psychology class about my ego. Other times, it is like therapy. Yoga calms my mind. It reduces my stress level both physically and mentally. It makes me a better mother.
As I practice my backbends, I have learned to open my heart both physically and mentally. Afterwards my lower back feels at ease, especially after toddler carrying and lifting, and my heart is open to take in and listen to the thoughts and concerns of Big Girl and Little Girl.
Twisting poses, in addition to releasing toxins from my body and boosting my immune system, allow me to rid myself of doubt and negativity. The parenting question, “am I doing this right,” is let go and I can simply enjoy the moments of life – regardless of how crazy they sometime feel.
It is during these quiet times on my mat that I can finally hear myself think. Or better yet, not think at all.
Yoga also reminds me to be thankful. Thankful for the people in my life and for the air that we breathe. Thankful for the body that I am in. I have learned to tune into my body. Accept my body’s limitations. And most importantly, to pass no judgment upon it.
Some days my body works the way I want and looks the way I desire. Some days it needs to rest and rejuvenate and appears a little soft. I have learned to acknowledge my thoughts (good or bad) and then let them go.
My teacher has taught me to move slowly and deliberately – stop rushing. I have learned to focus on doing one thing at a time on and off my mat. When I stop multi-tasking, I enjoy the simple things – like reading to the girls and cooking dinner.
With two young girls, I now mostly practice at home. I never thought this was a possibility until I was forced to make it one. I have learned that like any activity, consistency is key. And I have also learned that a short practice every day is better than no practice at all. Some days I only have 30 minutes before the girls are awake, other days I have more.
The days that I do practice in the morning, I revel in the quietness in the house. I can hear the birds sing outside and tune into the inside. And I salute the sun and myself welcoming another day.
How do you connect with yourself and motherhood?
This has been an original post to World Moms Blog by Angela Y of San Francisco, California.
Photo credit to Lulumon Athletica. This photo has a creative commons attribute license.