Tag Archives: yoga

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #6: I’m Already DOING the Job.

After a particularly long and draining day of parenting two tiny people, I was listening to a podcast from A Quiet Mind while doing some yoga stretches. The podcaster, Robert Jackson, was describing the various ‘selves’ who are there during meditation. There is the one who wants to meditate, who is going to “do meditation,” and “get it right.” There is the one who wants to leave, the inner voice who says the exercise is stupid, it’s not going to work anyway, and why are you wasting your time? But then, he says, “in the midst of all this noise, there is a presence who is unaffected. Who is this?” he asks. This is the one who is already meditating. The one just sitting there, experiencing and being aware of all this conflict going on in the mind.

I definitely recognize these different versions of myself when I’m doing yoga. And I imagine other people feel these versions of themselves when they do their own favourite activity: physical exercise, movie-watching, reading, colouring, having a bath, taking a walk… whatever.

One one hand, Continue reading

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Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #5: Don’t Jump.

Yogathon 2016I recently participated in Yogathon 2016 – it’s an annual, international event which raises money for a great cause (for more info, see here). Yogathon involves doing 108 sun salutations, and if, like me, you haven’t done much in the way of physical activity since your youngest was born, that is REALLY REALLY HARD. So there I was in the middle of Victoria Park here in downtown London, on the concrete area in front of the bandshell, with the hot sun beating down on my back while wearing all black, trying to follow only the second set of 20 sun salutations, which were being led at a pace well faster than I was hoping for. I found myself getting anxious: I shouldn’t have done this. What was I thinking? I’ll never be able to finish all of these. I shouldn’t have left my sunscreen in the car; I’m going to get sunburned. I should have put my mat in the shade off to the side – I’ll never make it in this heat.

And every thought that entered my head was not only a worry – it was also a conclusion that something bad was going to happen as a result of the thing I was worried about. I suppose that’s what worry is  – anticipatory regret. Expecting the worst and fixating on it, even though it hasn’t happened yet. And as I kept going through the movements of my sun salutations, my thoughts became clearer, as they often do during yoga. Here I was, in the middle of an activity I was doing just for me (and one of the only major activities I have done just for me in the last four months), and I was focusing all this energy on negative outcomes that might occur after it was over. I certainly wasn’t Continue reading

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #4: Do You, Regardless

 

Today, I took my youngest to Mom and Baby yoga. I second-guessed whether I should go or not, when it was getting close to the time to leave and I felt I wasn’t really “ready” to head out the door. I worried it wouldn’t be “worth” going because I knew he would just have to eat soon after we arrived, and maybe that would take up most of the class.

But we went anyway. Continue reading

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #3: Trust Yourself

Whenever I’ve done yoga, no matter the style or instructor, one thing has always been consistent. When it comes to whether a pose is being done ‘right,’ my teachers have always referred to each student’s best judgment and understanding of their own body:

Only go as far as feels right for you.

If it hurts, let yourself ease up a little.

Don’t worry about how anyone else is doing the pose.

yoga relaxation poseThese sentiments are important: if I worry about how other people do a pose, and focus on making my practice look like someone else’s from the outside, I run the risk of, at best, separation from the inner focus and peace I could enjoy from the practice, and at worst, really injuring myself.

 

My prenatal yoga instructor once described parenting as a lot like doing yoga. She said you have to put the “blinders on” and not pay attention to what anyone else is doing, but rather feel what’s right for you and your family. While it’s great advice, it’s not always easy to do this Continue reading

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #2

Recently, my husband and I were at partner prenatal yoga. The last class of each eight-week session is always offered as a partner class, which is just one of things I love about the yoga through Rebirth Wellness Centre here in my hometown of London, ON.

In this particular class, the teacher was directing the partners to massage the pregnant yogis as we lay in relaxation pose with our eyes closed. We had been having a pretty standard yoga class experience – calm, focused, quiet. And then my husband decided to mess with the calm: when the teacher encouraged the massagers to touch their pregnant partners in “the way that feels good,” my husband stuck his hand down my shirt, and nudged his other thumb into my mouth, just for a second. I couldn’t help cracking a smile, and had to do my best not to laugh so as not to disrupt the other participants.

In that moment, he had broken the yoga code, since we were supposed to be all zen and focused. Often, this might have irritated me, as I really like to maintain the calm and quiet of yoga, the soft, introspective nature of the practice. But somehow, it didn’t bother me. And for the rest of the class we kept being a little bit silly: silently high-fiving when balancing in partner tree pose, grinning with mock-risk that we might fall over when sinking down into a partner squat.

My husband reminded me in that class that it’s important not to take things too seriously, and that even if I usually like something one way – a calm, focused yoga class, for instance – allowing myself to enjoy a shared experience of that same activity in a different light is not only okay, it just might even be better sometimes.

As a parent, this applies to lots of activities, especially with a toddler. While my impulse might be to try to introduce my kids to life experiences in the way that I have always enjoyed them – dancing to a certain kind of music, noticing certain things on a walk in the woods, or tackling a household chore with a certain focus/drive – it’s also important to sometimes let them take the lead. Because trying those same experiences with them the way they want to feel them, and the way they want to learn, might open up a new experience for me, too.

Mom Things I Learn During Yoga #1

This morning was not a good morning. I woke up with worries about parenting, and was overtired from the moment I opened my eyes, which never helps. I started to express these worries to my husband in the early morning light, and he said gently, “Lindsay, we’re trying our best, and he’s healthy.” I found myself saying quietly, “Yes, when he was a newborn that seemed like that was all that mattered, but at what point is that no longer enough?”

I had the good sense to not continue the discussion at 6:20am, and instead decided to leave my son with his morning bottle snuggled up with his dad while I got out my yoga mat in another room, dim and quiet. Usually when I sit silent, eyes closed, some of the things my yoga teacher often says run through my mind: There is nowhere else you need to be right now, nothing you need to be doing… Calming things. This particular morning, what came back was a mantra I repeated to myself a lot in the early months of my son’s life: Sometimes it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy. Thinking about this, I felt my shoulders relax, my lungs expand, and the tension melt out of my hips and back.

Sometimes it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy.

I have many pressures and worries that have arisen through the learning curve of mothering. The tide of overlapping possible concerns doesn’t really seem to ever go away. But a few cheesy, poster-worthy thoughts ring true when I stop to reflect on an anxious moment: Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no chaos, but in the midst of chaos, to still be calm in your heart. Or my my counterintuitive favourite: Relax… Nothing is under control. It’s a struggle each time another wave of worry comes along, but remembering these little nuggets allows me to sit there in my living room and let the waves wash over me so I can move on with my day, instead of getting the wind knocked out of me by each crash.

So if there’s a worry or sadness that’s weighing on me in the days to come, I’m going to try my best to remember to just let it go, even if for no other reason than that it’s heavy. It might not go away, and I might still need to pick it up later to deal with it or it might sneak back up onto my shoulders all on its own, but if it feels unbearable, it’s okay to just leave it there on the carpet for awhile instead.

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