Do yoginis make better moms? I say... Yep!
Straight up, this might cause a bit of a shit stir. I mean…your mother might be the best mom in the whole wide world without ever having rolled out a yoga mat (or maybe she’s your inspiration in yoga, as well as in life).
And this is not meant to sing our own praises as yogini mothers (because that would just be shouty), but to sing the praises of yoga and what it does for us. So without being egotistic (the opposite of yogic), here’s the case for why yoga (can) make us better mothers, and how yoga does make us better.
1. Being a good mother is about putting your kids first.
Well yes, but it depends on how you define ‘putting your kids first’. It’s not simply about spending every waking (including in the middle-of-the-night) moment with them and sacrificing self-care in the process.
We put our kids first when we make time for self-care—when we get on the mat, spend time in meditation and when we take mindfulness and other yogic practices, from Ahimsa (non-violence/non-judgment) to Santosha (contentment), into our daily parenting.
Of course there are plenty of other forms of self-care—exercising, spending time in nature, socializing with friends, reading, writing, painting etc. All good, but I wonder if any offer the special self-care combo of physical, mental and spiritual practice that yoga does.
2. Being a good mother means modeling ‘good’ behavior.
Of course you don’t have to be a yogi to be good. “There are many paths to enlightenment,” as Lao Tzu said, adding, “be sure to take one with a heart.”
Yoga can help make us calmer, more self-aware, less judgmental and more compassionate if we truly adopt yogic principles every day.
Even when our yoga is largely confined to asana, the sense of calm that we take away from physical practice can make us more patient as parents – that’s the magic – what happens on the mat doesn’t stay on the mat.
Yoga has so much to teach us if we are willing to learn, and we can model and teach those values and behaviors to our kids.
3. Being a good mother means raising confident, resilient and empathetic kids.
Well... in my book anyway. Yoga teaches us resilience, particularly as we try to ‘master’ asana, breathing practices, or meditation. To err is human, to try again is yoga (as one of my mentors says).
Yoga gives us confidence, as we eventually ‘master’ asana, breathing practices and even wrap our monkey minds around meditation. When I look at how far I’ve come in surrendering into some postures (like Reclined Hero) and in meditating for longer periods, I feel new confidence (not to mention that surrender is a pretty great practice to learn too).
Empathy is learned through our own self-compassion along our yoga journey and through extending that compassion to others (Ahimsa once again). We can’t teach what we don’t know, so if we gain resilience, confidence and empathy through our yoga practice then we can pass it on to our kids.
4. ‘Good’ mothers are enough.
Good mothers come in all shapes and sizes, yoginis or not. They can be crafty, creative, playful, wise, passionate, forgiving, fun, inspiring, encouraging, protective and a hundred other adjectives – and they can be yogic too.
In yoga we are always enough. When we try to be good mothers, we are enough too. Never doubt it.And when we do our best to introduce our kids to the joy and power of yoga and meditation, then we are getting better all the time.
So yep, yoginis rock motherhood – tell me you don’t disagree!