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Having just finished teaching the first Mom and Baby class of a new session, it is apparent that the moms that made the conscious effort to pack up their babies from 6 weeks to 6 months and drag car seats and diaper bags through today’s cold rain to take class, had more than just stretching on their minds.
When baby enters the family, all of the sudden your intentions come second to your child’s needs. But in truth those needs don’t disappear. One of those needs is feeling a sense of community. Becoming a mom is like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. We have nine months of physical metamorphosis while our baby grows and then upon delivery we are permanently transformed into “mom”. The mental changes are not even fathomed until that baby is in your arms. We must make an instantaneous mental adjustment as well. Going from working on projects with deadlines, we now find an endless day of watching our child for signs that signal their need for sleep, for food or for diaper changes. The sense of gratification we once achieved from completed work is substituted with the delayed gratification of raising a well-adjusted person. We went from lunches with friends and colleagues to picking at leftover Cheerios while watching the endless cycle of laundry begin again.
Mothers need a moment. They need time to connect to their new bodies, new responsibilities and new dreams. Without stopping to put that time in the schedule, it is easy to run on autopilot. Moms need to stop and be mindful and to listen to their hearts. They need to connect with others who are in the same situation trying to make sense of this new life experience.
My mom and baby yoga class is a fusion of baby massage, yoga and strengthening poses for mom, and the blessing of taking that moment—time to connect with other moms with babies of the same age, time to connect with the voice inside that may sound different. It is a time to connect with one’s body, one’s baby and one’s breath.
From the book Mindfulness: Mother with Mindfulness, Compassion and Grace by Denise Roy:
Today, take some alone time. Even if it’s only five minutes.
• Light a candle. Go for a walk. Sit outside.
• Lock yourself in the bathroom.
• Create a little zone of quiet.
• Congratulate yourself for taking this time. It’s an act of love.
• Now imagine that life is like an ocean.
• At the surface, there can also be a lot of turbulence. Life’s busyness and demands and ups and downs can be like rough waves that whirl around us.
• Now imagine that deep down in the ocean, thirty or forty feet below the surface, is a place of constant stillness.
• Take a breath, and drop down into this place of quiet and calm.
As you keep practicing taking this alone time, it will get easier to practice in the midst of the chaos of a day. You will be able to drop into that place of stillness wherever you are.
There have been a lot of changes and opportunities these last few months for which I am immensely grateful. At the same time, each door that opens creates some anxiety and anticipation. I am finding that the new opportunities usually come with some small leap of faith that I will find my way. It is like lifting your feet off the floor in crow for the first time and putting trust in yourself — having faith that you will not topple over and embarrass yourself.
I also find that in my excitement, I can get overly caught up in the “possibilities” instead of focusing on the moment at hand. I find this energy which is intense to usually lead to disappointment. I try to remind myself that when a door opens or closes to be mindful and patient. That a missed opportunity may lead to another door and that a door that is opened and that looks like the right way may close unexpectedly or lead me astray. Change is inevitable either way and its often better to stop and just be grateful for what is. I remember the story about the farmer which I may have posted before. The story is worth repeating.
There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?
In the spirit of gratefulness…
I’m grateful for the opportunities that I have to effect people through teaching yoga. Teaching my first Mom and Baby yoga class on Monday was pure joy. Seeing these new moms with adorable chubby babies in tow and knowing how much of a challenge it must have been for these ladies to get out of the house just to make it to class made this a very special hour for me. I remember how much yoga helped me as a new mom connect to my body and my self beyond my role as wife and mother. I look forward to next week to teach these inspiring ladies and babies again.
What are you grateful for in your lives? Please share!
Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. — Oprah Winfrey
This is a big week for me and hopefully Karma Spot. I am gearing up for a trip to DC to get certified in Mom and Baby yoga. I am heading over to Tranquil Space again for a weekend of learning and fun. Having gone to school in Washington makes this trip extra special as I will get to play with three friends that I have not seen in about 15 years. I am excited about this training as Mom and Baby yoga integrates yoga classes for both adults and children—wee little children. Teaching moms with babies will have its challenges but I am excited about the possibilities. It allows me to teach during the day a bit more which is great for my family and it can provide such relief for mom at a critical time of change.
Why new moms should take yoga:
• Yoga allows women who have just undergone incredible body changes to start to reconnect with and take back their bodies.
• Yoga stretches a new mom’s body—releasing tensions and muscle tautness created by nursing, carrying and caring for a newborn.
• Yoga strengthens and balances muscles that are frequently needed to care for one’s baby.
• Yoga provides mom a needed mental break through focus on asanas and breath.
• Mom and baby yoga also teaches new mothers methods of calming and playing with their infant in ways that nurture a special connection.
I look forward to posting about my experience in DC once I have time to absorb all that happens.
Karma Spot has found a home!! I will be hosting yoga birthday parties and events and will be adding a Pre-K and Mom and Baby class soon at Sweat Gym and Fitness in the Village of Pittsford. The studio is a great size for both types of classes and the location couldn’t be more perfect.