How Yoga Teaches Us to Multitask Better
Yoga and multitasking might sound like an oxymoron, but is that really the case?
In the morning, I brush my teeth while playing with my son. I prepare the baby’s bottle while eating my breakfast. I’m a pro at preparing lattes in my kitchen with my right hand while holding the baby in my left arm, all while singing songs to him and performing a little dance to keep him entertained just long enough to avoid any impatient crying. I play with Toy Story dolls with my older son or read books to him while feeding his brother and petting our two cats with my bare feet.
I enjoy being efficient, but am not a natural multitasker. I prefer to do things slowly and deliberately, taking my time with everything I undertake. Motherhood often demands the opposite but requires our full attention.
So, I spend my day running around, sometimes feeling frazzled. And then, in the evening, when I’m lucky enough, I get an hour on the mat, on my own. At first, my mind continues to run over the passing day and thoughts of the night that is to come. Did I remember to set aside an outfit for my older son to wear to preschool tomorrow? What am I going to make for dinner tomorrow?
“Enough. Stop!” I silently resolve.
I take a deep breath and start to move through a round of Surya Namaskara. My body has missed this. I move through another round. I start to feel at home with the vinyasa. By the third Sun Salutation, I have arrived. The tone has been set for the remainder of the practice and I’m fully in the present moment. And yet, I continue to multi-task, in a comfortable, calm manner. By linking breath with movement, focusing on proper alignment in poses, keeping the intention for my practice resting in the background of my sacred space, I multi-task. This is my workout, for my body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
My yoga practice continues to remind me, every day, on and off the mat, to live mindfully in the moment, whether I’m focusing on just one task or thought, or if, out of necessity, I do two, three, or four things at once. Yoga keeps me from becoming overwhelmed. And if I do start to worry that I may have taken on too much, I remember to be patient and compassionate with myself. I allow myself to slow down. I deepen my breath while sitting down on the couch during the baby’s nap time. I look at the mess in the living room around me and the pile of laundry beside me. I take another breath and remind myself to practise being okay with what is. I can multi-task later, and probably better. Yoga teaches discernment, reminding me that I always have a choice.