What’s the first thing I do as soon as my kids fall asleep? Do the dishes? Fold the laundry? Start cooking dinner? NO WAY! I am a yogi mom – I unroll my yoga mat next to the bed where the kids are sleeping and start my yoga/breathing/meditation routine that I’ve been doing every day for the past eleven years.
We’ve all seen the picturesque scene of a yogi… sitting quietly… in a beautiful place… no distractions around… incense burning… lotus flower… Is that what yoga and meditation look like in my house? In my home, I do my yoga routine squashed between the bed and the dresser. I shove toys out of the way when my arm reaches out for the spinal twist. I move really quietly so that I don’t wake anyone up. My practices get interrupted by “Mommy, I have to pee,” and sometimes I have to jump out of my deepest meditation to lie down with a squawking baby. Sometimes the squawking baby ends up in my lap and falls back asleep. Sometimes the squawking baby wakes everyone up and it’s ‘session over’.
Is it worth it? Wouldn’t I make better use of my time cleaning up the toys and hanging out the wash? I don’t think so. All that cleaning is important, but it can wait. To me, the very most important thing about being a mother is being able to respond to my kids. If I’m feeling tired and my head is in a fog, then I’m no good to anyone. After I do my daily practice, my mind feels fresh and my body feels relaxed. I can pick up that baby for the billionth time with enthusiasm! I can answer that ten-millionth ‘mommy, why…’ question with much more patience. I can come up with the energy to stay focused enough to cook dinner (without burning it) while the baby climbs up my leg for the zillionth time. Afterwards, I somehow manage to negotiate baths, brushing teeth, book reading, back scratching, rocking, foot rubs and breast feeding two kids before bed until everyone is asleep. I can do all of this much more smoothly when I’m feeling calm and centered.
I’m certainly not perfect. I still go crazy sometimes and get tired, but I know that the crazy tired lady is less crazy, and less tired than she would be if she didn’t do her daily practice routine. I make sitting on that yoga mat my priority, instead of running to pick up the Tupperware strewn all over the kitchen floor. When I finish my practice and the kids are awake, then we can clean up, but, while I have the chance (and I take just about any chance I get these days) you can bet that I am sitting with my eyes closed and taking full advantage of that ‘silent’ moment.
There are lots of ways to meditate and do yoga. The best way to learn is to take a course. If you want to learn the cream of the crop, I highly recommend doing the Art of Living Course, which is offered worldwide. I loved the Art of Living course so much that I went on to do many more of the courses and eventually became a teacher for their programs. For over ten years, I’ve known that yoga and meditation are the best stuff on the planet! I still feel that way today. Even with two little kids milling around, I wouldn’t skip sitting down to a little ‘journey within’ for the world!