Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote an article about what it was like to practice yoga soon after having a baby. Now, one year into motherhood, not much has changed, yet everything has changed.
The phrase that still sticks out from that piece is something we hear teachers say often: Yoga has to meet me where I am. This is more true today than it was a year ago. Even though my practice looks a lot like it did before I was pregnant, I practice in much shorter increments.
Here is what I've learned during this last year about myself and my practice:
1. My toes may not touch my mat every day, and that's OK.
I have discovered how much more there is to yoga than asana.
2. Meditation is important, and even more so when I'm sleep deprived.
I take at least five minutes every day to sit and meditate, because it calms me, especially during times of growth and transition. Right now, we're cutting down to one nap and sometimes it wears me out.
3. Water is vital, and so is coffee.
Sure, water is vital, but please don't take away my coffee on those rough nights that lead to early mornings. (Need a justification for your cup of joe? It's full of antioxidants.)
4. Many situations can be instantly made better with yoga.
When you're tired, sleep or do some restorative yoga. When you're back hurts, do a down dog or a forward fold. When your arms hurt, do bridge pose. When you have too much energy and you want to sleep, take child's pose. When your child is going crazy, do a down dog and get them to play with you.
5. It's just a practice.
Some days will be easier than others just as long as you practice.
6. My one-year-old is a sponge.
What I do, say, express, eat, and so much more is absorbed by him. I NEED to practice what I preach, because one day he may notice the rules are different for me and not understand or repeat my words back to me. (Which I hear is kind of scary!)
7. Self care isn't selfish, it's a necessity!
Giving is great (after all, it's receiving, too), but running on empty isn't a good option when you're on-call 24/7.
8. Life is a series of little things.
Little hands giving little high-fives. Bubbly water. Bumping into friends at the grocery store. Reading a book! (Yes, one year later, I actually make time to read.)
One year later, there is still so much to discover about yoga, myself, my child, and the world around me. My practice may still be a far cry from daily 90-minute play times or getting into a handstand, but ultimately this last year has lead me into a deeper practice than I could ever ask. A deeper practice and down-dogs with my baby boy!