How Motherhood Deepened My Yoga Practice
A big part of my internal dialogue around my identity used to come from the idea that I was *good* at yoga. Even though I knew that asana (physical postures) was only one of the eight limbs of yoga, my body was bendy and I could contort myself into all sorts of photo- worthy poses, so I figured I must have been nailing this whole yoga thing. Ioften foundmy mind wandering into comparison with other people in a class, or my ego inflating when I mastered another fancy photo op. All the while marvelling at my very effortless ability to be soooo *good at yoga*. When I became pregnant I stopped practicing yoga. I tried in the beginning of my first trimester, but I found myself struggling to get to a class. I no longer had the motivation of ego in being the girl with the nicest- looking ASSana (see what I did there?). I continued to practice meditation and mindfulness based breathing exercises, but I completely lost touch with asana practice.
Fast forward to two months postpartum and there I was- a sleep deprived, anxious new mother crawling into a yoga studio at 6 AM because it was the only time that fit with my partner’s work schedule. My first class was incredibly humbling. I rolled out of final savasana (rest) feeling that familiar quietness in my body and mind… but something was different. I could not identify the change at first but I continued to practice every morning and I found myself getting deeper and deeper into my own body and my own breath. Childbirth had created a new sense of connection to my body that I had never experienced before. I developed a trust in my body and a feeling of inner strength that had never existed for me. I realized that having a baby to care for took all of my old priorities and threw them out the window. I no longer cared what my poses *looked* like, I was way too busy enjoying the 60 whole minutes of peace and quiet and breathing that I was being gifted. Not to mention the absolute badassery of a body that had literally created life a mere 8 weeks prior.
There was a pivotal momentmid practice where it struck me- it did not matter whatsoever what my yoga practice looked like. What mattered was that I was taking an hour of time to breathe and to go deeply into myself. What mattered was that when I got home I would be a better mom to my baby girl and a better friend to myself. I continued to practice with the most incredible blinders I have every had- blinders that allowed me to focus entirely on the dance with breath and the strength of knowing that I was giving my mind and body such a beautiful gift. I began to discover just how deeply layered my yoga practice had the potential to become. Just how unimportant asana really is in my practice and how all of the other layers have begun to strengthen my inner wisdom and my connection with myself, Mother Earth and my daughter.
What it took for me to experience this awakening was for my body to change massively; For my breasts to swell, my belly to grow and the rest of my body to become tighter and wider. All it took was witnessing this empowering cycle of creating life, and giving birth for me to stop and recognize my body’s potential to take me deeply into my mind. My body’s innate ability to work with its own natural intuition helped me to stop and truly listen. This is how I started to become *good* at yoga. When I realized that whatever poses you take your body into really just don't matter at all. I am grateful that this was one of the many lessons my daughter taught me in her first months of life. I continue to commit to myself and to her; To dive into this practice in order to be the best mother that I can be.