I recently said to a friend who has a 4 year old and almost three year old twins (yes, I know) I don’t know how she does it. This was after I’d forgotten my daughter’s lunch for nursery and had to go back home and get it. She said, she’s just come to accept that chaos is her new normal. And we agreed that “embrace the chaos” is a great mantra.
This is where I currently am and expect to be for a while. I get torn by the second between a baby and a three year old, between playing and feeding, between dinner and reading books and a thousand other things impossible to reconcile. It is now that I need my yoga practice the most. However, before my mat has even unfurled, I get pulled elsewhere and then sits there for two weeks gathering dust. Every time I see it I mourn a little for how my life used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a mum, I am fascinated and frustrated as I watch them grow and do my best to nurture them but also, I really want to do a sun salutation.
There’s the paradox.
I’m a bit obsessed with them, how can two polar opposites be found in each other. It’s a game I play, I imagine myself with a bad eighties perm, shoulderpads and a massive red button playing “where’s the yoga??” in TV game show format of my youth. I just gave away my age. That’s baby brain for you.
What if the yoga is in the pull between my attention?
What if I’m being given the ultimate training in staying present?
What if I’m being called to find the yoga which works for me now, regardless of how it was?
Then, it becomes a lot more interesting and not so annoying. Maybe this is why Sri Pattabhi Jois said parenting was the 7thseries.
I will outline how I build my personal daily sadhana (practice) so you can take from it what you will. However, I also want to quote Father Ted, again I give away my age but this exchange stuck with me:
Father Dougal: There's lots of ways to praise God, isn't there, Ted? Like that time you told me to praise him by just leaving the room.
Father Ted: That was a good one, yes.
I challenge you not to say it in an Irish accent, but I digress.
The point is, yoga is not just asana. I know we know this but I’m saying it again.
I see it as a medical box, take what you need, the rest will still be there. Plasters are magical and fast, according to my three-year-old, especially if they have animals on them.
This is what I’ve learnt since my life stopped revolving around myself and my timetable and became dictated by tiny tyrants:
The key is to be realistic: if I set myself up to fail I will, if I don’t consider why I’m doing my sadhana during my sadhana savasana I’ll become disillusioned, if I’m not honest with what capacity I have I’ll give up. I keep up my meditation practice but drop everything else to give myself space. Finally, I write it down, that is how it comes to life and how I remember what day I’m on.
Here’s my current sadhana (day 38 – yay me):
Intention: To track to Self, drip by drip
Mantra: Om Gum Ganapatiyay Namahah – to dissolve the obstacles
Physical: 5 minutes, focusing on my postnatal aches
Pelvic floor: I’m 10 weeks postnatal, n’uff said
Meditation: 20 minutes starting with 108 repetitions of my mantra
Mudra: Musti mudra, to release emotions – I have a threenager with a new sibling
And here’s what’s bubbling and I’ll let percolate during my sadhana savasana:
Embracing the chaos.
This thoughtful article was written by Adele Cassidy, based in Hertfordshire, UK. Find out more about Adele here: www.adele-yoga.com
We'd love to hear about your experience of asana as a new mum, and whether you found this article helpful? Please do post your comments below and we'll get back to you....
what is your pelvic floor?
Come on, hands up who knows that they should be doing their pelvic floor, but just can't be bothered? Yup, I know that one alright! Unlike going to the gym you don't even get to see the results of your efforts, but there are lots of reasons why you need to embrace this secret work and make it part of your daily routine. Men can also do pelvic floor work - it can help with back ache and helps them to keep their erection.
To point out the basics, women have 3 holes down there with gravity getting behind some big organs creating pressure and eventually weakness. If these muscles become lax due to the pressure, this could set you up for all sorts of problems later in life; diminished sexual enjoyment, back ache, weak or leaky bladder or worse still uterine and / or bowel prolapse. If you are pregnant then there are even more reasons why you need to make friends with your nether regions!
What is your pelvic floor? It is a group of muscles that are weaved together and act like a hammock at the base of the pelvis helping to support the reproductive and digestive organs. The bowel, vagina and urethra all pass through the pelvic floor so the tone of the pelvic floor affects these passages. As women, doing your pelvic floor exercises are important during any phase of your life but its especially important to do them regularly during pregnancy and the postnatal period. There are a number of reasons why...