At prenatal yoga one week several months ago, I remember chatting with my instructor before class. Hoping she would be able to tell me a bit about postpartum yoga, I asked her how having a baby had changed her practice. Her answer wasn’t very encouraging: “My practice was really on life support for about the first year.”
Boo. Now granted, I didn’t come in to motherhood with a six-days-a-week ashtanga practice to try to maintain, but the same remains true for me: my yoga practice is on life support. To go from practicing three to five days a week, to … well, barely once a week — while also struggling to focus my mind instead of dwelling on all the things I need to get done — it’s a big change, and one I don’t like.
But like it or not, that’s life right now. My eight-week-old baby doesn’t give me much of an opportunity to spend an hour a day on my yoga mat, and neither does my overwhelmed mind. I really miss it. However, that is no reason that yoga can’t still be a big part of my life — it just means it’ll take more effort. As I’ve said before, yoga is more than just a workout to me, so here is a good opportunity for me to continue living that out.
Yoga is so different now. I find myself trying to squeeze in a quick practice while Will is napping or Steve is sitting with him, but my mind is not focused on it at all; I’m distracted and rushed, feeling a little guilty for taking this time for myself and for wanting to take time for myself. Maintaining my home practice has been so much harder than I anticipated.
And I thought yoga with a giant belly was hard!
I’m having to take my yoga off the mat these days, and discover ways to keep up my practice without the luxury of a dedicated peaceful hour in class, or even alone on the mat! It’s time to get creative and start expanding my definition of what a good yoga practice looks like. But it’s also time to start thinking about purposefully dedicating time to my practice as well, when both Will and time allow. Steve and I are looking at our budget to see whether a weekly-or-so class will be a realistic option for us, and I’m willing to make it a priority if possible. It might mean fewer Starbucks runs or more thoughtful Target shopping, but with things feeling so overwhelming a lot of the time, I think that hour will be a big help.
It’s fascinating to me how my yoga practice has gone from just being a good workout and complement to my running to a major piece of my mental health. I barely even think of it as a workout anymore, unless I’m doing a more vigorous flow. Instead, I see it as an opportunity to quiet my mind and breathe deep, assimilating all the major changes that are continuing to happen in my life. Stronger, toned muscles are just a bonus!
In fact, what am I doing blogging right now?? Will is sleeping. BRB rolling out yoga mat …