Monday, February 21, 2011

Yoga Post Baby - A Stronger Woman From the Inside Out

One month after baby, I started getting back into yoga regularly. It wasn't much of a choice really. After about five months of not being able to do much of anything very physical, even deep breathing, my natural energy and vitality meter I couldn't stand my blah self anymore, so I turned to yoga and pranayama to fix it.

That was early December. Two months later, I feel like a different person. (No, this is not a paid advertisement for yoga). Not only is my vitality back, but I feel like I have a whole new lease on life. My inner creativity is bursting! My zest for life has come back! I can see the good in people and wake up inspired to live a new day again.

Like anything, it has been a journey. As I have mentioned in My Yogi Dark Side, I have not been a home practice sort of gal. Through desperation and against my natural tendency, I have forced myself to do at least five minutes a day (but hopefully much more) of yoga, or meditation or deep-focused breathing.

Some days I have completely failed. I have let life and all its chaos suck me in. Those were probably the days I needed to do it most. Those were the days I felt so uncentered and stressed and pulled in a zillion directions.  If I was having one of those days, and I managed to get a little session in, I found my world all of a sudden stopped spinning and the anxiety started to fade into the background.

Why just yesterday I managed to do a really nice yoga session on the porch. At dinner, we ate 1.5hrs later than usual (a no-no in my household with three peaceful people who turn into fire-breathing dragons when they are hungry). While being argued with and 'button-pushed'  by my partner on one side of the table, and tested with the patience of job on the other side of the table with the whining, distributive, can't-stay-still-in-his-seat overly-sugered three-year-old son,  I - remained - completely - calm. Yep.

I know for a fact it was the yoga. I can feel when I don't do enough, and those are the days  my emotions can get the best of me. Those are the days I react instantly instead of taking a breath and staying calm.

My breathing and yoga practices are nothing near physically intense as they used to be. If I do some advanced poses it is because I am warmed up and ready for them. I haven't pushed myself much. And I am okay with that. I know it will all come back in due time.

Yet, my practices (when I get past the 10 minute mark) are still very intense for a different reason. My focus gets sharper each time, and is intimately intertwined on my breath. My moves now are gentle, mindful, grateful and full of love. As a result, I am in tune with the subtleties of breath and body, and I am able to go deep. I feel calm and centered afterward, with an increased vibration. Yeah, I feel totally buzzed.

Pre-baby tough yogi
Prior to becoming a mother, my practice was competitive (mostly against myself), bold, fiery, with only a hint of grace. 

I was focused on breath and body, but it was a whole different game. It was all drive, and lots of ego. There was less compassion, understanding, and not enough love for my body and spirit.   

Actually, I had a deep awakening after my first vipassana retreat (pre-kids). Meditating so deeply for days on end on nothing but my body, I could feel all the fiery knots I had planted into my body. I knew a lot of the knots where there because I was so bent on pushing myself too much in my ashtanga yoga practice. (Kind of ironic, eh)

Yes, yoga had done me lots of good, but it was clear to me I needed to re-gig my mind a bit in my practice. I needed a good dose of self-love. Pure loving-compassion is akin to pure-consciousness. When emminating pure loving-compassion, you are showering down high voltages of pure consciousness waves.

On becoming a mother, I got to practice a whole lot of nothing but emminating pure loving-l\kindness to my baby. Really, at that point in my life there wasn't much to do all day other than "just be" with my baby and love him no matter what. You can't blame a baby, or "change" a baby. You can only send love to your baby. (Well, you can send other things, but it won't help anything). We didn't have tv or high-speed internet. No second car. New place in the country and no friends. It was like a mediation retreat - with not a lot of sleeping, and a lot of just sitting there holding/nursing/comforting.

The real me - pjs and no makeup
My point is, that becoming a mother helped me to get very good at channeling that universal divine force, manifested as loving-compassion, or a mother's love for her child.

Being a mother has helped me to connect more deeply with that force, and turn the love inward on myself.

Being a mother has helped me "get over myself".

Being a mother has brought me more joy in spontaneous moments than I knew could exist.

For all these reasons, coming back to the mat now, I feel like a totally different person than the pre-baby yoga me. I am becoming the woman that I was striving so hard to be in the first place. I may not be nearly as physically strong, (I am certainly now more lean and supple), but my heart is now opened and generates my strength. I may not have as much prana stored in my body at the moment, but I am working on building that back up again too.

I am definitely a stronger woman from the inside out, and that to me is worth losing my long strong warrior pose. I have gained much more than a softer belly.

Thank you, my children, for feeding my heart

Yogi Son
Flying yogini daughter


  1. I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I would like to invite you to come on over to my blog and check it out. God bless, Lloyd

  2. This was great. I'm a yogini due in May. During my last pregnancy, I was on a yoga hiatus, and I was wondering how entering practice postpartum would be. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for sharing your yoga path with us readers. It has been great to come across your blog. I am a new follower to your posts and look forward to reading more yogic tales and adventures in your life!

    Yoga for Beginners

  4. Wellunderstood - I think the biggest difference post=baby is I am sooo grateful when I do practice. Grateful for a moment to practice, grateful for a slice of peace, grateful for my body and so on :) Also, I find as long as I have no expectations, I leave the mat happy, even if I only get a few breaths in!