When I began my journey into motherhood almost eight years ago I thought I knew nothing about being a mom–and for the most part that was true. What I later discovered is that yoga had prepared me for motherhood in many ways. Here are my top 5 ways that yoga truly prepared me for motherhood, and some great reminders and tips for any parents.
1) Be present: There is a very noticeable difference when we are and are not present during a yoga practice. As a teacher I can feel when students are present and when they are not as well. I think that if I can feel that difference, then our children most definitely can as well. It seems no matter how much we try and slow down life it just keeps moving at a steady pace. When you think life has settled down, something else just pops right back up. It’s so important to try and stay present in your children’s lives, to put down the phones and to make the time to really focus on your children and your family.
2) Be patient: The practice of yoga is never about nailing the perfect pose; it is all about the journey getting to the pose. What did you learn about yourself? Did you get frustrated? Did you quit? Or were you able to continue to ride the wave and be patient? Yoga taught me so much about being patient with myself and with my body. Often times if we are not patient with our bodies we can push too hard and that can result in injury. I find this is true in parenting, when we are not patient and when we try and rush our children, we often get major meltdowns!
3) Breathe: The breathing techniques (pranayamas) that I have learned in yoga don’t just help keep me grounded and sane, but it’s a tool I have been able to teach my son. Whenever I get overwhelmed I try to pause and breathe, and the shift is almost instant. The same is true with my son: when he gets too overwhelmed, we pause and take 5 very big yogic breaths. After those breaths the energy usually has shifted, and he is able to calm down and speak what he is feeling rather than just melting. It’s the most beautiful gift I have been able to share with him.
4) Rest whenever you can: Parenting can be really overwhelming at times, especially in the beginning. Yoga taught me to take child’s pose (it’s no coincidence it is called child’s pose) and rest whenever I need to. It has also taught me to not be ashamed when I do need to rest, to take that opportunity so I can continue and finish the rest of the practice. Think of motherhood as a marathon rather than a race. Give yourself permission to rest and take child’s pose whenever you need to.
5) Love yourself, every inch: When you become pregnant, your body beings to change forever. Rather than being in the mindset of “getting your old body back,” what helped me the most was embracing my new body. This new body that created life, birthed life and that now creates nutrition for my baby. If that isn’t amazing and miraculous then I don’t know what is! Yoga taught me to really love myself. To simply show up, and see what was available for me that day, in that moment with no expectations, and just love–which is a lot like parenting.
Happy Mother’s Day to anyone who identifies as a mom out there!
Click here to learn more about Dani and see her teaching schedule.