Years ago, I used to say I did not want to have any kids. I loved my sweet independence, being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
And to be honest, the thought of going through pregnancy and labour scared the hell out of me! Most of all, I did not want to see my body go through so many changes!
Then, I found yoga and a lot of things in my life changed. I found a deeper meaning in everything. I connected deeply with my body and with myself. This opened doors that I did not know existed.
When I got pregnant, my life changed again! This time, however, I was eager to be a mother: to feel a baby kicking inside my belly, to hold him in my arms. I am totally convinced that it was my yogini side that fully accepted this new challenge and all the consequences it would bring to my life.
Everything I learned during pregnancy, labour, and most of all during the first months of my baby’s life, connect deeply with my yoga practice and brought a new meaning to it. Here are some of the things I learned from being a mother that I believe have made me a better yogini.
This is probably the most important lesson one should learn: to accept.
During my yoga practice I had already begun to accept my body’s limitations and this helped me to accept other things in life. However, when I saw myself pregnant, and later on with a newborn in my arms, I realized the true meaning of acceptance and letting go.
My life as I knew it would have to be on hold for some time. I realized that, for that moment, I would have to give up my favorite activities such as yoga practice, going to the gym, etc. There was simply no time for that, and I learned to just accept things as they were.
This is another big virtue one should cultivate! We should learn how to be patient to face every challenge in our lives. When you are a mother, you definitely have to develop and exercise patience. Babies can be very demanding and they do not know any limits.
This truly connects with a yoga practice in that only with patience will you be able to go from posture to posture, accepting your limitations until you finally get it right.
I’ve found that my breathing is my biggest asset when it comes to being patient. I just focus on the air entering and leaving my lungs, and immediately I feel calmer.
This one connects with the above. You cannot give up once you face the first obstacle; you just have to be patient and believe in yourself.
Spending days, weeks, or even months without enough hours of sleep—breastfeeding, hugging, and rocking your baby for what seems like endless hours during the night—can be frustrating.
To cope with this, you have to believe that one day eventually, you will be able to sleep through the night again; for now, you just have to be there for your little one.
In yoga, you have to do the same. You step onto your mat everyday believing that one day, you will be able to do that backbend or that handstand that keeps eluding you! It is by being persistent that you will conquer your biggest dreams!
Yoga and motherhood can go side-by-side, and both are a lifetime journey. I feel truly blessed that I can experience both! It can be difficult to reconcile your yoga practice with being a mom, but the benefits you can gain from being able to do so are enormous.
Even if you, as a new mom, do not have the time to do your yoga practice, do not close any doors. Just let it flow, and the time will come when you will find the right time and place to do it.
Yoga is not only the asanas we practice on our mats, it is also a way of living and being. So maybe try to focus more on those aspects until you can fully return to your mat!