Archives for posts with tag: mamas

So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately. I realize how seldom I post yoga poses, of myself or otherwise on my social media platforms.

I guess over the years my teaching, as well as my philosophy off the mat have evolved beyond the poses. I used to be defined by my asana performance and get built up by a teacher saying ‘good job Sara.’ Lets face it, it feels great to be acknowledged.

Around that time yoga became more mainstream.

Around that time I had kids.

Around that time I became disenchanted with the abundance of handstands and arm balances parading around the social-media-yoga-scene.

To me, that is no longer what my practice is about.

Don’t get me wrong, I love asana. In fact, I have even more appreciation for it after having 2 children.  I am also more proud of my body and what its capable of after having 2 children than I EVER was before.

But the days that I don’t practice asana FAR outweigh the days that I do because I’m teaching, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, emailing, texting, hugging, snuggling, wifing etc.

So how can your yoga practice continue to evolve if you don’t have time to get to a studio, let alone roll out your mat for a solid hour to do a home practice?

It will be helpful to understand that yoga poses are actually only a small part of a yoga practice or lifestyle. According to one of the ‘grandfathers’ of yoga, asana is only 1 of 8 limbs. Patanjali’s 8- limbed yoga path consists of yamas (ethical discipline), niyamas (self discipline), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (enlightenment). You can think of these as puzzle pieces that fit together to construct a complete practice. I find it helpful to think of them this way because when you are putting a puzzle together there is often no rhyme or reason, yet your effort is spent on creating a whole piece, hence doing a yoga practice or becoming a  yogini.

Through my process of becoming a mother I needed to evolve a way of maintaining my yogi identity. So I pulled away from show-boaty poses and turned my focus to the things I was doing on a more regular basis. By accepting that I couldn’t get to my mat, I started creating opportunities to practice yoga and mindfulness in the daily tasks of motherhood.

Playing with my children became a practice of being present. Packing their lunches- an act of service. Deep breathing with them when they are upset or hurt has become a great way for me to practice breathing as well. When they creep out of bed first thing in the morning, I wrap my arms around them and close my eyes to meditate on the sound of their little angel breath and their warm sleepy bodies.

Mindfulness, breathing, meditation, presence, compassion, all things that show up in motherhood on a regular basis.  Utilizing these tools to extend your yoga practice beyond your mat will help you to evolve and appreciate the time you DO get to be on your mat.  Plus, one of the hardest things to do as a mother is to make time for yourself, so by weaving these practices into your day you will cultivate mindfulness for yourself AND your family. Its WIN-WIN.

namaste.

 

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I’ve been on this earth for a while now. But I think I am finally starting to understand the powerful difference between setting a goal, and the will to achieve it. We can set intentions all day long, but if they don’t hit us on a heart level… on a soul level, we might as well throw in the towel.

After I had my baby it was really important to me to get back to my health. Going through pregnancy and labor is a perfectly healthy thing to do, but there is a lot of strength and endurance that’s lost. Not to mention the complete 180 that your lifestyle has the opportunity to take once the baby has arrived.

The summer that I found out I was pregnant I ran my first half marathon. I actually WAS pregnant when I ran it. I remember the preparation and the running of that race were such milestones in my love-hate relationship with running (read previous blog post here).

In an effort to ‘get my body back’ I set a tentative goal to run my second half marathon this summer- two years post baby. I say tentative because its become so much more important to me to be doing things smart rather than hard. I have a back injury and I just didn’t know how my body would feel pushing those long running distances.  As the deadline of this half marathon got closer and I danced with the reality of actually having to run it I intensified my training. I knew I would have to run at least 10 miles before I would be comfortable considering 13.1.

Well, I had my longest training run this week- 8 miles. As you can imagine, there is a lot you can think about with an hour plus of handsfree time and no where else to go.  While the corner of mind my is chanting ‘light on your feet, lift up from your core, this feels easy- keep it easy’ the rest of my mind is pondering a full spectrum of things from the problems of the world to why the Panera I just ran past doesn’t have a drive-thru.

Previously I had run 6 miles, which is a personal obstacle. My struggle through that first 6-mile run is completely mental. I fight myself the whole time. But once I’m past it my whole mindset changes from doubt to assurance.

So for 8 miles I chose a familiar path, one with plenty of shade, not too many hills, good scenery and I set off. I usually find my stride about 2.5 miles in (lift up through your core, use your muscles, this is easy).

Around mile 3 I really started to believe that this WAS easy. My cross training at Red Rocks and running trails HAD made me stronger (shoulders back, land light, this feels easy).

End of mile 4 was exuberant- just turn around and trace your steps (you’ve already run this, now you’re just running home).

At mile 6 I was high as a kite. I’d come to the realization that I AM as strong as I was before the baby- if not STRONGER. The ease that I was running with was unbeliveable, mostly because I WANTED to be there. I WANTED to be a strong-by-my-standards runner. I wanted to be able to run 13.1 miles if that was what I chose for myself. I WANTED it.

Now that I’m on the other side of that 8 mile run, the half marathon itself is less of a prize. Mostly because I KNOW I can do it. The goal- which was the race- has shrunken in measure compared to the confidence and pride I have gained as a result of my training.  I wanted to be prepared and focused. And now I am. I wanted to be strong. And now I am. I wanted to run as far as my heart could take me. And now I will.