Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resuming a Regular Yoga Practice as a Mom

Urdhva dhanurasana

Much has changed since I first wrote about my post-natal yoga practice.  For four years now, I've been doing what I can, when I can, which meant that my practice was broken up into a few brief sessions a day.

I've made the empowered decision to take back my practice time.  My son is at an age where I can reason with him a little better.  And I really believe that he needs to see me meditate and practice yoga so he knows that it is a significant part of who I am.  No longer am I going to wait until he's fast asleep at night before rolling out my mat.  And instead of just working out the kinks from a hard day of stay-at-home-mom-activities, I will work toward a practice that is consistent in developing my body, heart, and mind.

The Ashtanga Primary Series is my main go-to practice.  I've always loved the sequence, the routine, and the rituals and am really drawn to it these days.  Though it usually takes me at least 75 minutes to complete, shorter forms are presented in David Swenson's Ashtanga Yoga Manual that make having a consistent practice truly attainable.  

So I have my practice method and time (usually in the afternoon before making dinner) along with strong internal motivation.

Now, how is this practice done with my son constantly demanding my attention and without resorting to the TV babysitter?  The answer continues to be: with practice.

Upavista konasana with a helpful adjustment

I try setting him up with art projects, play scenes with toys in his room, and the task of picking strawberries on our balcony.  But everything is more fun with me accompanying him, and eventually he comes stomping on my yoga mat.

Just like with Vipassana meditation, where everything happening in the present moment is included in the experience, my asanas and ujjayi breathing are approached in the same manner.  And I notice:

This is how it feels to be interrupted
This is how it feels to be annoyed
This is how it feels to be needed

I have to stop at least once to read books, watch him perform his own made up asanas, or stop him from lighting an art project on fire in a candle flame that was way too accessible for him (that was a close one!).

The important piece in this endeavor is that I continue after the interruptions and complete my yoga practice. I do so, knowing that I've satisfied my needs as well as my son's. And I notice:

This is how it feels to be connected


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