Our baby is a little guru of true happiness
We have now been Kiran's parents for five whole months. He has really brought sunshine into our lives and has shown us what yoga is really all about. It was not long before we recognized that our sadhana, or practice, may not take place at six in the morning on the mat. With a baby it suddenly becomes more challenging and is practically unattainable for a new mom in the first few months. I thought back nostalgically to my daily practice of ninety minutes with a frequency of at least five times a week. At the same time I realize that this experience has opened my eyes to what the actual purpose of the practice is. Babies really are tiny gurus and truly bring us little enlightening moments of joy and contentment.
A yoga practice
So this morning is a great example of this new form of practice. After a long night which was spent mostly next to the crib, and where I much preferred the uncomfortable neck position to trying to move and risk waking the 'little guru', I decided to come to practice. I arrived at AYI Ulm during the last fifteen minutes of Mysore class. Most of the students are doing their final poses, so I pass Kiran to Ron. He carries the little guy around as he teaches. In order to make sure that Kiran gets a good view of the class, he occupies Ron's hands so that there are no further adjustments for that day. I stand at the front of my mat and take deep and even breaths. To be so present as I am now in these fifteen minutes, I would have previously needed to complete an entire series.
Mini-Mama practice topped with a touching finish
It is a wonderful feeling to breathe into my entire back, and my neck muscles start to relax. I make mindful movements and enjoy the freedom I have. At the same time my son's presence in the room brings an incomparable sense of vitality into my practice. My son, of course is loving time with Papa, lying comfortably on his arm and enjoying the birds-eye view of the practitioners.
To close my mini-Mama practice I take Urdhva Dhanurasana. All of the sudden I feel something soft on my belly which creates just the right resistance to help me get a deep stretch in the chest. Ronald had put the little guy on my stomach, giving me my new pose, the 'Kiran Urdhva Dhanurasana'. During my brief constructive rest I bathe in the memory of a time when my son was still a small embryo in my belly.
Tips for Yoga Mamas
- Get on the mat, even if you only have 10 minutes. As a mother you will need to re-establish your practice step-by-step until the baby gets more used to the practice, is glad to crawl around during the practice, or until the little one starts taking longer naps.
- Practice "Family Yoga" with your partner, a friend or with other moms. The practice becomes a synthesis of yoga and a baby play-group. In these practices your experience may not be as intense as usual, but you can really experience some joyful moments. The baby will be more willing to hand around once they are able to focus and watch things around them, starting at about 4-5 months.
- Live the yoga of interconnectedness. Even the strongest of parents need a break sometimes. If you have family closeby or a good friend who is familiar with the little one, take advantage of getting some mama time to practice. In the end this small time-out will help you to refresh and be totally present as you joyfully take your little treasure back into your arms.
Never a boring moment
With these small tips, you can find space to re-establish your personal practice. Just remember that you will need to be flexible and adapt as life with a baby is constantly changing. We are following the flow and are curious to see what Kiran will teach us about our practice in the second half of his first year of life. We are very pleased to have this tiny motivator to keep our practice fresh and exciting.