Once I had my son, Aiden, I was determined to get back to my mat. Yes, I had practiced throughout pregnancy, and while my body was recovering, I dreamed of the day I could practice again. I longed for the sweet feel of Upward Dog or Bow Pose — anything that involved my doing poses that I hadn't been able to do for months.
Little did I know, my body and my baby had something else in mind. Post-baby, my core and my wrists were weak, and I really just wanted to enjoy being a new mom.
Fast-forward nine months, and I can now say my practice is completely different. I'm a much more advanced yogi, even though asana can only account for 30 minutes of my day. I often refer to my son as Baby Guru, not just because he loves to play with the buddha and mala beads, but because he's taught me more about myself and my practice than 12 years on the mat has done.
4 Reasons Having A Baby Can Make You A Better Yogi
Now that little man is mobile, I value the moments of stillness. Yeah, the phrase, "The grass is always greener," comes to mind, but those months of wanting Aiden to crawl had me missing the potted plant months when I could set him down and not worry about what he was getting into. I was never good at meditation or taking the balancing time of stillness in my day, these days I crave it and make it a part of every day. It took having a baby for me to realize the importance of a time out for quiet and stillness. As a new mom, time IS valuable, so I probably won't be getting to the 30-minute sit any time in the near future. That's OK! Five or 10 minutes each day — once nap time has arrived — is enough to help keep me and my mind in check.
2. Yamas and Niyamas
The importance of instilling manners, values, and the golden rule is one thing each parent will struggle with, but part of being a yoga momma means that I have the wonderful guidance of the yoga sutras to help me. I know, little man is too young to really "learn" these lessons, which means it's even MORE important for me to show him. Making sure I take care of myself, treating others with respect, and watching what I say are just the tip of the iceberg.
Inhale, exhale. A deep breath can be a lifesaver. We all have bad days and when baby-man has a bad day, let me just say, taking a deep breath or like 20 can really help. Babies feed off the energy around them. So if I'm frustrated or feeling overwhelmed, he feels it too. Sometimes when melt-down is happening, I hold Aiden close to me and just slow my breathing down. Even recent studies have been done to show how breathing slowly and calmly can influence babies. Not only does that deep breath calm me, it can keep him calm too.
OK, I may be pushing it if I said Aiden brings about nirvana in my day, but my little guru keeps me present and that's about as close to samadhi as I can imagine. Keeping present means I stay alert to what Aiden is putting in his mouth, crawling towards, and moments that are too precious to miss. Of course, I could worry about walking and running (yikes), school (too many decisions), teenage years (don't even get me started), and what the world is going to look like as he grows (and how I can create a simple life in a world filled with complexities). Being present means I don't miss out on the smiles, the discovery, or the moments of frustration. I also won't miss out on his first steps, his first words, or the moments of sweet cuddles. Sounds like bliss to me.
I may not be gracing the pages of any yoga magazines in some amazing asana, but I'm learning so much more about myself and this beautiful practice of yoga. I look forward to all the lessons Baby Guru will bestow upon me over the years; the Guru appears when you need him or her most.