In lieu of Mother’s Day, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on motherhood and how yoga and meditation has helped me breathe a little deeper. As moms, our days start pretty early, usually before 6am, regardless of what we did the night before. And so the race begins, making breakfast, packing lunches, getting the kids dressed, hair and teeth brushed, last minute homework, etc., all before 7:45am when I drop them off at daycare and make my way to work. I see other working moms dropping their kids off, rushing from daycare to work, completely frazzled. I can relate and see my own tendencies in them. But I ask myself, why? Why are we rushing? Why can’t we be more present when we move through these daily rituals?
It all comes down to breath and breath awareness. As soon as we take a deep breath, the fluctuations in our mind become to settle. Our heart rate slows down and we become less reactive to outer circumstances. Meditation helps us shift into a witnessing mode of awareness and we can start to witness the emotions that arise. Through a regular meditation practice, we can begin to tap into this place of self-referral, even amidst chaos.
It’s difficult to find time to meditate, especially when you have young children. Your meditation does not need to be 20 or 30 minutes long. I know, I am breaking some meditating rules here but being flexible and adapting to your current situation and incorporating a few minutes a day will soon lead to longer sessions. Think of your meditation as a cleanse. When you go on a cleanse, (which I never have but have read a few books on cleansing), they usually advise you to gradually cut out some of the toxicity in your diet. Your body starts to adapt to the foods you are introducing and omitting.
Below is a short meditation that you can do anywhere, even in the car (once you park and are in safe place). I felt the need to specify that since I was asked on a radio show if people could meditate while driving!
Find a place where you won’t be disturbed for at least a few minutes. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and notice the sensations in your body. Do you have tension in your jaw, neck, shoulders, hips, etc.? If so, set an intention to release any of the tension with each one of your exhales. Once your breath has settled and you feel comfortable, start counting your breath. As you inhale silently count one, as you exhale, silently count two. Keep repeating, “one, two”, silently to yourself. That is all you need to do. When you feel relaxed, either stay in your meditation or slowly open your eyes.
Try to find some time each day to do something for yourself. Doing something for yourself does not mean catching up on e-mails. It means taking time to be present by bringing your awareness to your breath. Yoga is a wonderful breath centered practice that can be strength building and completely restorative. Perhaps you may even want to try the above meditation.
We are blessed with our children who are ultimately our teachers on this journey. Have you ever seen your young child rush or comprehend the concept of being late? Of course not. They are living in present moment awareness. They are forgiving, loving and brutally honest! Happy Mother’s Day mamas!