Yoga as a 31 year old mother is nothing like yoga was as a 21 year old single girl. Here are 9 things I have been noticing lately:
- Interruptions. These days a half hour sequence takes me about two hours, if I actually finish it. Usually, by the second time I have to change the baby’s diaper and the third time I have to stop to give the little guy a snack, I just give up.
- “Relaxation” is a thing of the past. I used to be able to stay peacefully in shavasana for at least ten minutes after a yoga session. My body was present. My mind was present. Now, it takes an hour just to wind down, and still it is rare that I can get to a fully relaxed state. Even when I can, the likelihood that there will be 10 golden minutes left after a full session is… nearly nonexistent.
- I am less concerned with how I look. I didn’t even know that I was concerned with how I looked when I practiced yoga before. I thought I was all about the feel of it. But there was always a small part of me that was trying to impress that crunchy guy a few rows away. Now… let’s just say that 9 months of pregnancy yoga and the year following it is very humbling. I allowed myself to be curious about how I looked. I allowed myself to open my eyes and gaze. Then, somehow, I found that true focus on feeling rather than appearance that I had thought I had all along.
- I feel more. Maybe it is because my body is so stiff. Maybe it is the ingrown toenails that accompanied pregnancy. Maybe it is all the little aches and pains. Whatever it is, I feel more in every position than I used to.
- I have more fear. When I was 21, I didn’t really care what a pose, if I missed it, would do to my body. At 31, I definitely am aware of how it would feel to fall out of a balancing pose or stretch too deeply. I am aware, and I am afraid. However, this doesn’t keep me from attempting these poses. It just makes me concentrate on the build up to them a lot more.
- I am less present. It goes with the lack of relaxation and interruptions. I am definitely thinking of other things a lot more often these days, and then I end up feeling guilty during parts of my practice.
- Catharsis is harder to obtain, but much stronger. I don’t know how many times during yoga I have almost cried in the past three months, but it is more than I ever cried during the past ten years.
- It is more difficult to control my breath. I find connecting my breath to my body a challenge these days.
- I am more interested in the spirituality behind the practice than I used to be.