09 Feb A mum with a yoga practice
It was just over four years ago that I packed my bags for India. I had reached a point in my life where there was space for something new and I decided to fill that space with a practice that I loved. Yoga.
What I didn’t appreciate at the time was that somewhere on my yoga path, I would reach a point where I would stop practicing for myself and start practicing for other people. Everything I experienced, both on and off the mat and everything I learnt translated into knowledge that I could pass on to the people who came to class. With a hunger to please I continued to search for the answers to the questions that the people in front of me were asking, when really I should have been contemplating on how the practice could best serve me. I looked at all aspects of yoga and teaching as – ‘I could do that’ rather than questioning ‘should I do that?’
The self created pressure of continuously improving the space I held for others lead to the living and breathing of all things yoga 24/7. From the books I read to what I watched on television and how I socialised, it all had to be about yoga. I would go to bed late and wake early, teaching up to 15 classes a week and spending the rest of the time planning. My personal mat practice would last until I hit complete exhaustion and at times might last up to three hours. It’s here that I should add in that I flipping LOVED it. Woohoo!
Through hours of intense practice my body became flexible and strong in ways I hadn’t thought possible. There was no end point I could continue to search for more space, more strength and more flexibility. In theory it was never ending, a practice for life.
But then I became pregnant and so began the biggest unraveling of life as I knew it.
During the nine months of my pregnancy and the subsequent 15 months of being mum to Pearl my body has become weak and exhausted in ways I never thought possible. Ha!
I imagined that maternity leave would give me more time to practice, but instead of spending hours a day on my mat I now dance the hokey cokey. My yoga books have been exchanged for anything by Julia Donaldson and my Om has become a Moooooooo!
But when I do get to practice, those moments are truly cherished and thoroughly enjoyed. I love attending two regular classes a week and it feels more amazing to be part of a class than it does to be in front of it. Once again yoga nourishes me, it provides safe haven and restoration from the exhaustion of life. Classes provide community, friendship, listening ears and lots of laughs. I haven’t shared much from my personal mat practice recently because I’ve been enjoying the freedom of privacy. My practice for now is just for me.
When not in class it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find me on my mat, I practice less than I have in years. The situation not helped by Pearl shaking her head for ‘NO’ every time I try to ‘yoga’ in front of her. Seriously, I tried to sneak in a child pose for a bit of mid afternoon restoration saying “look Pearl mummy is a tortoise” and she crawled over shaking her head, pulled at my arm and handed me a pig.
I have no plans to return to my role of yoga teacher for the foreseeable. Work wise I have no idea what the future holds. The decision to stop was initially made due to exhaustion from endless wakeful nights with Pearl. But now it’s one born out of an enthusiasm to be a mum with a yoga practice. And strangely, spending more time off the mat has made me feel like the essence of yoga is spilling over into all areas of my life and that is making me feel more content than I ever have been.
Life’s lesson for now is that less is more and slow is the new fast.