The first time I tried yoga was in my early twenties. At that time, I was only going to classes with the highest aerobic intensity or centered around weight training. Loud music, sweat, and trying to keep up with the millionth rep of squats was the perfect class for me.
Then I had kids.
Once I was deep in the trenches of motherhood, those same things in an exercise class didn’t feel good. The fast-paced classes didn’t really offer me a break from my current lifestyle of being home with the kids; the pressure to keep up with the exercise instructor and my kids was too much. I was exhausted. I needed my exercise class to pull double duty as a time for me to relax my mind.
I decided to give yoga a new chance, and I noticed a huge difference.
In the beginning, I noticed how nice it was just to breath and catch my breath. I never noticed how often that I take these weak, shallow breaths to power through a long day. However, I’ve been practicing yoga for close to three years now, and I feel the lessons I learn on the mat have actually made me a more patient mother.
Twisted Triangle Pose is my least favorite pose of all. My legs are straight, and not only am I bending over, but I am twisting over my front leg and attempting to gaze at my hand that is in the air. My chest feels tight as if I am anxious, and my mind starts to race. I want to hold my breath until it is over, but thankfully, the teacher reminds us to breath. I repeat my mantra with each deep, cleansing breath to calm myself down.
I realized that is same exact sensation I have when my kids have a meltdown, or when they both have one simultaneously which is called the morning routine. I am sure you are familiar with some variation of the scene: one is dawdling, taking a full 30 minutes to eat a half a piece of toast while the other one is running in circles, refusing to eat and get dressed. As the time to leave for the bus stop rapidly approaches, my natural tendency is to react and become upset which only breeds more madness.
Thanks to yoga, I recognize that my racing heart is a reminder to take a deep breath and calm down. I may not be able to execute this perfectly every morning (just ask how I became unglued when my 3-year-old barricaded his door so I couldn’t get him dressed), but I try. It’s a practice, just like yoga.
In the hustle of the morning routine or having my mind race while in triangle pose, I feel a great sense of empowerment when I am able to find calm in the middle of chaos.
Do you practice yoga? Does it help you with the complicated issues of motherhood? How do you get through the tough moments with your kids?