Missing the Mom I Used to Be

This morning I did my yoga again and a 5 minute meditation. Yesterday’s meditation wasn’t for me, so I tried a new one today. I can tell that my heart chakra is very much in need of repair right now. My yoga practice keeps telling me to open my chest (closed poses are hard) and in my meditation today….I cried.

It was a simple instruction…..

Think back to one moment in your life that really brought you lots of joy

I flashed back to this moment that I have recorded. I was pregnant with my second and my husband is blowing bubbles in the dining room of our old house for my oldest to catch. He is two years old. He is adorably excited and telling me how he caught 2 bubbles or a Mama Bubble or a Baby Alligator bubble (that’s what we called the little one until we knew his name). He is smiling, my husband is smiling, I was smiling.

I felt joy and happiness and growth inside of me. I felt complete; as if this was the life I was going to have and it was perfect. What could be more perfect than watching your child’s joy amplified by bubbles?

I cried because that little boy is no longer so happy and joyful and easily entertained. That’s our fault. WE have taken away a lot of the joy and simplicity from his life.

I am not the same mom I used to be then. Then, I was less busy with work and more into designing my life around these two little lives. I was so joyful and content every day to take them places and watch them grow. Now I want to take them places and watch them learn new things and experience all of the highs and lows of their life, but I don’t feel I have the freedom to do that. I feel restricted because I tried to follow someone else’s rules about parenting and that made me strict toward my kids…..

I admit that I’ve always been a plan maker and a rule follower when it comes to my kids. I try to feed them well and raise them to be good people, but now I feel pressured to make sure that they are allowed to be “normal” kids and get to watch tv a ton and play video games and drink soda every day. I have been told how to talk to them and when I can and cannot talk to them. I have been told not to yell, but that I am not authoritative enough. I have been called names for limiting time on electronics, but then asked, what are they supposed to do? Read a book? As if education is a bad thing….

My way I parent has changed and caused me to be bitter toward parenting…..so I cried at what I have given up. Now I feel tense as I parent, as if I’m being watched and my choices judged or overruled at every turn.

I cried because I am angry in a way I don’t want to be. I cried because there are days I don’t want to parent because I know it can’t be what I used to have. I want more for them and more for myself as a parent who truly loves to spend time with her children; to watch them grow……

 

TOLT #82 – A Call to Open

I hope that this post finds you well and safe wherever you are. I have taken a serious backseat in the last couple of months. I didn’t want to write about my coronavirus day to day or my negative opinions on how our country is acting around this international pandemic. I didn’t want to turn my blog political or have it just be a journal of the monotony that is quarantine life.

Instead, I put my head down and focused on the two main objectives I have had these past two months:

  • Finish the semester for my students
  • Keep homeschooling and life at home as normal as possible for my kids

I have not succeeded at the level I had hoped for either, but this week is finals week, so objective one is coming to an end. Other things in my life are coming to an end as well, but I’m not ready to write about that at this moment.

This morning I didn’t have to grade at 6am. I still got up at 6am and did my normal, go to the bathroom, check my phone, head upstairs. I spent a few minutes with my oldest who always wakes up early. I snuggled with my youngest when he found his way upstairs. I didn’t open the computer or respond to emails. We had breakfast and then I did something I haven’t done in FOREVER! I went upstairs and did yoga and meditated.

A few times over this at home period I have done yoga to film videos for my class. At one point I was trying to do some simple poses each day for gut health because my whole body is off at this moment. But, to be honest, I have abandoned a lot of my training. Life has taken many different turns for me and I have sacrificed some of the things that keep me most centered.

Today I chose differently. I did this video from Erin Motz at Bad Yogi:

As I was doing pigeon pose on the right side I noticed something unusual…..I couldn’t lay forward in the pose. I didn’t hurt, but felt trapped when I closed my body forward. It was as if I couldn’t breathe. So, I opened up the body and pushed it toward a backbend….not much of one, but one all the same. As I was doing it I realized that it was helping my heart chakra immensely. I was feeling open and free for the first time in a long time. So, when pigeon came up on the left side, I was surprised that I could do some of the fold, but also how great it felt to backbend and be open for a few breaths there. I usually ONLY love to fold forward in pigeon.

Later in my practice, as we were doing seated forward fold, Erin said something profound to me. She said to focus today on the feeling of the pose and not necessarily on how it looks. Right now I am in the process of making my life feel good; no matter how that’s going to look to the rest of the world…..

Namaste

Letting Go – Guest Post

Sometimes a student is so quiet that you’re not sure that they’re engaged in learning what you’re presenting. But for many of my students they experience the same themes. I think that we need yoga more than ever in the world. We need to get rid of the anxiety and stress that comes with every day life and get back to letting go of the things we cannot control…..

I am glad I choose to take Yoga my first year of college. Yoga has helped me deal with my stress. I have anxiety and depression and can get stressed over things that are not in my control.Yoga has taught me to live more in the moment. I understand now that things take time, it’s a process and the process/development can be a beautiful journey. My favorite discussion topic was the Yamas and Niyamas. My top three were Ahimsa, Asteya and Isvara Pranidhana. When learning about the Yamas and Niyamas, it made me question myself a lot like asking myself “Am I happy?” “Am I satisfed?” “What’s next?”. All things we ask ourselves when we get older.  

My overall Yoga experience was a good one. I will continue to practice Yoga more at home. Before starting Yoga I thought it would be just sitting in silence for a long time and clearing your mind and thoughts but it’s more than that. I was not expecting to do deep stretches that began to really test my body, but I liked it. My favorite part of Yoga is the spiritual side of it. I love the feeling I have after I do Yoga, it’s the same feeling I have when I leave the gym. The feeling of letting go and taking your mind off things that stress you. I really enjoyed taking Yoga this semester. 

 

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Peace with the Past, Present, and Future – Guest Post

Sometimes the best yoga stories are the simplest to share. This beautifully short story on the peace that a student last Fall found in yoga shows the impact of yoga in all areas of our life….past, present, and future.

Taking yoga this past Fall I have learned not only how to better myself physically, but mentally as well. Ever since I was young, I was obsessed with my weight. This stemmed from my childhood, and how my mother started putting me on diets when I was about seven or eight. With the help of meditation that I learned in yoga, I learned how to ease some of the worries I have about my weight, and how to accept myself as a person despite having a few extra pounds. I plan on using meditation in the future and whenever I need to find peace.

I also learned some great ways to deal with stress and anger. I have always had a short temper; however, with the help of some breathing techniques that I have learned from this yoga course, I can practice healthy ways of dealing with it. I also use yoga breathing for when I am babysitting my nephews. The calming nature of Ocean Breathing lulls them to sleep and lets them rest easy. I plan on using these breathing techniques in the future all throughout my daily life.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Meditation Monday #53 – My Own Kind of Beautiful

Let me first start by telling you that last night did NOT go as planned. My flight out of Augusta never happened and I had to be shuttled up to Charlotte to catch the late flight. Such is travel….

Second, I am completely voiceless today. This is what lecturing with an allergy situation will get you. And finally, let me note that it’s been more than a year since I last posted an official Meditation Monday post…..when I completed my 108 Sun Salutations! Life was much different for me then and that brings me to….

Affirmations, aka the topic of today’s Meditation Monday post. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #53 – My Own Kind of Beautiful”

Meditation Monday #32 – How to Meditate: The Two Pillars of Yoga

Alternating periods of intense activity and rest is an important part of life, so it’s no surprise that this principle serves as the foundation of yoga itself.

This is the opening sentence to a 2007 Yoga Journal web article describing the two pillars of yoga: Abhyasa and Vairagya that I use with my Yoga II students. For the next few weeks I plan to focus our Meditation Monday posts on the topics I cover with them in regards to meditation. I have previously presented a series of 4 posts titled How to Meditate that covered some basic meditation techniques. Now I am expanding that for you with a deeper practice into meditation as well as my own insights on the topics at hand. Continue reading “Meditation Monday #32 – How to Meditate: The Two Pillars of Yoga”

5 Yamas Friday #4 – A Difficult Week

I am writing this post very late on a Friday night, in my hotel room in Columbia ,  MD , on my phone. My computer is having WiFi connectivity issues at the hotel and it’s just one more thing this week that has put me out of sync with my life.

I don’t know if it’s the strep throat recovery? I don’t know if it is traveling two weekends in a row? I don’t know if it is the time change? I do know that part of it is the fact that I’ve only run once this week. I do know that part of it has been this election coming to a head. And I do know that yoga has helped me again this week to be a better and stronger person.

I have tried my hardest with the Yamas this week than I have at any point in my life. I have considered others and avoided the protests that are taking a turn from peaceful to violent. I have chosen my words wisely so as to be both truthful and nonharming. I have been respectful of the values of others around me so as not to steal away their rights of expression , their right to their own beliefs, their right to choose. And I have worked hard to let go of anxiety, sadness ,  regret, and fear.

The world is going to be what it is going to be and I have no control over Internet connections, the seasons, and other people. I do have the ability to be the best me that I can be, perpetuate the values that are important to me by raising my children to be open minded and caring individuals , and to practice respect for those around me while working for a better tomorrow . Each moment is here and gone….I am contented to be able to be in it.

What have you done with the Yamas this week?

Currently September 2016 – The Yoga Project

Biggest Pet Peeve – Posts that don’t post on time!

So, it’s Friday the end of September and I’m sure some of you are wondering: How did the 30 Days of Yoga go?

Well, it went better than expected and reignited my love of a daily yoga practice so much that I have a new plan for 30 Days of Yoga in October! But we’ll get to that in a minute. First a little reflection on the process.

At the beginning of the month my practice was heavily focused on the Asana and Pranayama limbs of yoga, but I ended up spending the end of the month in Dhyana….meditation. In total I meditated for 16 days this month using the Gates book and finished the section on Yamas just in time for the end of the month. The biggest portion of my meditations were spent on the idea of Aparigraha or Letting Go. There’s a lot of that needed in my life, but the best part of letting go was opening space for something new…..for more yoga!

This week’s meditations and reflection on the month, in particular,  have taught me that I still have some work to do on the Yamas. It’s a daily struggle and not something that comes easily in certain areas.

  • Nonviolence
  • Honesty
  • Nonstealing
  • Moderation
  • Nonhoarding

Which brings me to October and the start of the Niyamas…The Sustaining Practices.

How will I be sustaining my Yamas? By having 5 Yamas Friday for the month of October.  I will look back at the week and reflect on the best example of me living My Yoga Life through the Yamas.

How will I be sustaining my physical practice….my Asanas? Every odd numbered day of the month I will be working on the first of the three poses that I wanted to master this year. October’s Pose of the Month will be Garland because it pairs best with the knee recovery exercises I’ve been working on. I also plan to take pictures along the way to chart my progress.

How will I be sustaining my Dhyana? On the even days of October I plan to meditate using the Gates book. It has taken me 795 days to get from the intro of Meditations from the Mat to Day 61 in the meditations. I had planned to finish that book in one year and now it seems necessary for my continued progress in life.

So, expect updates along the way and 5 Yamas Fridays each week. Come back Monday for Mini Movie Monday – Exercises for My Back! I hope you have a great weekend and Join Me for 30 Days of Yoga October!

How are you living the Yamas?

How are you sustaining your yoga?

 

The Yoga Report

meditationI am still finding time to meet the demands of my self-imposed 30 Days of Yoga challenge, but finding it harder to make the time to write about it. Some of that is because it’s a personal practice and sometimes I just want to do it and not mention that I did it. Other times I just allow life to get in the way of writing.

So, here’s a quick recap of the practices I did last Wednesday through Sunday and my plan for this last week of September. Continue reading “The Yoga Report”