How to Practice Yoga as a Mum?
Although yoga is essentially a spiritual science,
it leads to a sense of physical and emotional well-being.
Greetings to all the incredible mothers out there, treading the sacred path of nurturing, juggling responsibilities, and discovering the beauty in each moment! As I sit here in the tranquil interlude after my little ones have finally fallen a sleep, I am reminded of the incredible journey we embark upon as mothers. The journey, at times ordinary and at times extraordinary, is a constant interplay of self-discovery, love, and the relentless pursuit of balance.
“Yoga is a spiritual science that leads to physical and emotional well-being,” said B.K.S Iyengar. These words resonate as I sit here, relishing a rare moment of solitude after my children’s bedtime. My journey as a mother, a dedicated Yoga practitioner, and an Ayurveda teacher has unveiled profound truths. In the midst of motherhood’s I’ve discovered two crucial lessons: adapting yoga to our lives and making our entire life a yoga practice. Through this journey, I’ve learned to help mothers embrace their unique path, release unrealistic expectations, and infuse self-compassion. This blog is a guide to thriving as mothers, realizing that our daily life is our yoga, and our journey is both transformative and a gift to ourselves and our children. Join me as we uncover the magic of living yoga, finding balance, and nurturing our own well-being within the beautiful chaos of motherhood.
The Magic of The Three Little Things:
Now I am sitting here with you. It is passed my kids’ bedtime, but I still can hear them playing in their beds telling each other stories while a little toy star is playing “La, Le, Lu, only the man on the moon is watching ….”(A good night tune from W.A.Mozart.) I am tired, enjoying my one hour a day alone, trying to make the best out of the time I have by writing on a book manuscript. It has been an ordinary day of an ordinary mother of two little boys, age three and two at the time I am writing this, and yet I am sitting here appreciating the moment immensely. I am grateful for the journey that already lies behind me and the journey that still lies ahead of me. Every day that I live is a bonus I can use to give and to share what I have had the honour to learn and experience for myself. Every day, in every extraordinary-ordinary way!
As a long term Yoga practitioner, Ayurveda-Yoga Teacher, and Coach, I have learned three things early on in my motherhood journey, that I hope will help you with your own way of seeing and practising Yoga in your life:
Three Little Things I learned as mother who practices Yoga:
- The First one: As a mother, you cannot adapt your life to a very rigorous Yoga practice. You have to adapt the Yoga practice to your life as mother and be happy with what you can do.
- The Second one: Make your whole life as mother your actual Yoga practice.
- The Third one: Embrace Love and Self-compassion for yourself by creating self-care rituals.
When you really understand these three teachings and apply them faithfully on your own journey as a mother who chooses to practice Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation as a form of self-care, healing and continuous awakening tool, it will make your Yoga practice more powerful and your life as mother much easier.
I often see Yoga students and clients disappointed when they cannot practice Yoga or meditation every day in the way they imagine they should. There always seems too little time, too much going on and too many disturbances distracting you in the form of screaming children, complaining mothers-in-law or food on the stove that starts to burn. (I just rushed off, remembering the boiling potatoes on the stove. It wouldn’t be the first time, that I have burned them!)
One of my main jobs as Yoga teacher and Clinical Ayurveda Specialist is to coach women to be more patient, loving and kind to themselves.
Often it is the unrealistic expectation of yourselves and an idealized picture of how you should look and behave like as a woman, mother and Yogi, that is holding you back from starting or continuing with the practices that you love and are good for you. I am helping women like you to discover their own individual practice and unravel misconceptions about how it should look and feel like to practice Yoga as a mother .
It is easy to behave like a saint when you sit alone in a cave or meditation retreat, but when you have one or more little ones ( or bigger ones!) challenge you all day long, you start to understand that the picture of yourselves and of how a Mama Yogi and should look like will change.
The Habit of Yoga
If there is one single habit that has the power to trigger many other good habits, it is the habit of practising Yoga. You start with the habit of a regular Yoga and meditation practice, no matter how long or short, and soon you will find yourself remodelling your whole life, or even better: simply enjoying and embracing what already is.
I have observed in so many of my clients and friends, that once they start with a regular Yoga and meditation practice they naturally want to be making positive changes in other areas of their lives, such as:
- diet and lifestyle
- work and money
- parenting and relationship
- personal growth in general
- management of time, money and energy resources
With the habit of a regular Yoga practice in your life, your physical, mental and spiritual health improves simultaneously and coming from that state of health you will make decisions that shape your life in a way that reflects who you are and want to be. The centring effect of each Yoga practice, connects you to a knowing of what is good for you and what kind of habits would be good to upgrade, and which one to better let go off. You don’t have to be an athlete to practise Yoga postures or a scholar in Yoga philosophy to understand the benefits that come from a regular Yoga and meditation practice. By practising traditional Yoga, which includes:
Five Main Practices:
- Pranayama – Breathing
- Asana – Postures
- Savasana – Relaxation
- Dyana – Meditation and Positive Thinking
- Ayurveda – The Science of Life, including Diet and Lifestyle
You will start to recognize what Yoga has to teach you through the daily practice in and of itself.
The transformation you are seeking and the deeper understanding you are graving sets in naturally and will touch every area of your life, which includes the way you treat yourself and therefore your children and partner.
The Gift of Yoga
How do you want to love your children, partner, family and friends unconditionally if you haven’t started loving yourself? When you practice Yoga, what you receive is so much more than the initial effort you put in.
Learn to give to yourself as you continuously give to others. There is always a way. If you don’t try, you will never find out. Motherhood is full of wonders!
Ultimately, the consequence of a regular Yoga practice is the transformation of how you see yourself and your responsibilities as mother.
The different sadhanas (practices) of Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation and Coaching are a perfect combination of tools to help you as mother to navigate through many adjustments you need to make while learning how to listen and trust your own instincts and intuitions.
There is no perfect way of doing it, there is only your own way.
Your goal with incorporating Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation into your daily life as mum, is not to become an enlightened Yogi who seems not to be touched by any mundane afflictions of a messy life but to learn how to treat yourselves kindly and compassionately. Sadhana teaches you to be aware without judging and as you become more gentle and less judgmental towards yourselves, you will be able to relate to your children and others in a much more authentic way.
Helping yourselves means helping others, and helping others means helping yourselves. As mother, you have the opportunity to practice both. You start to live your whole life as mother as a form of Yoga. This is the greatest gift you can receive and give to our children: to be your happy, balanced self!
The 3 Main Benefits of Yoga
In my thirty years of yoga practice and teaching, I have crystallized three main benefits of Yoga:
- Yoga induces physical and mental health.
- Yoga releases the creative potential in you.
- Yoga is the path to self-realization.
Your physical, mental and spiritual health is the basis for the seemingly never-ending daily tasks that are required of you as mothers. The way you are with your family and the work you do in this world ideally reflects your deepest passions and unique gifts. The kind of work you do in this world as mother, partner, family member, community member, employee of a company, or independent entrepreneur is not separate from your Yoga path or your spiritual path.To connect to your true nature, means connecting to what you love the most. It is the way you choose to make the very best out of everything you do, but without unrealistic perfectionism or self-criticism on your part. You live your life with full awareness, and it will flow and merge with the ultimate goal of Yoga: self-realization.
You want to realize your true nature in the ‘here and now’ and in every little thing you do on a daily basis. From picking up a needle off the floor, to hugging your children and husband, to holding a big presentation of your life’s work in front of one or even a million people, it is all a part of life and therefore a part of your Yoga path.
The Yoga I describe, is a daily practice of directing your focus, breath and attention both on the Yoga mat and in your daily life.
The physical twisting, bending, strengthening, reshaping, and “uniting” happens on the Yoga mat, but the twisting, bending and reshaping of your mind and consciousness happens in your daily life as mother, wife, and awakening woman.
As you navigate through different life circumstances, you apply what the Yoga practice teaches and triggers in you on the mat.
This is where the real grinding away of rigid thought patterns and unfavourable personality traits takes place; in your day-to-day life and through personal and professional confrontations with other people in different circumstances.
For me, Yoga is the way we take care of ourselves and our families, while expressing ourselves in many ways beyond the daily tasks of a mother and householder.
- Yoga means living your true nature: pure and simple and not very sensational.
- Yoga means living spontaneously and intelligently in a disciplined way, and to act on what you know to be true.
- Your Yoga practice becomes the way you interact with life circumstances and people on a daily basis, allowing your true nature to come true more and more.
Your Daily Life Is Your Yoga
Yoga on the mat and on the meditation cushion is a preparatory body-mind discipline for wakefulness to arise spontaneously in whatever you are doing.
Since I am a mother, I am asked to apply all that I have learned in my previous life as “formal Yogi” in my daily life as householder. I realized that to practice Yoga, you don’t have to go to India and sit in a cave with an enlightened sage.
- Your holy cave is your own home.
- Your Gurus are your children, partner and everybody you meet.
- Your Yoga mat and meditation cushion are your practice companions on the big journey of life.
The discipline of maintaining a regular Yoga practice is necessary and will help you a great deal to connect with your body, breath, mind, intuition and sense of self, yet the effects of this Yoga practice are really only of value when seen reflected in your daily interactions with life itself.
Yoga as a mental and physical discipline as described and practised in the Hatha Yoga system is really just one aspect of Yoga.
The union or perfection you seek is already ever present. It is you. Your mind just needs to realize that. The union described in Yoga is the expression of your infinite nature in a finite world. You can use your everyday life as a platform and jumping board for awakening. You can integrate your true nature right here and now into your daily life with your children, work and relationships. If you have the idealistic idea that you could practice better Yoga and go “deeper” in an ashram or in India, I need to disappoint you. You will eventually get the same lessons in a “holy place” as you will get at home.
You can change your location and surroundings, but you always take yourself with you. Your inner Guru (Guru means remover of darkness) is always where you are.
The Magic of The Three Little Things for Mamas:
Tip 1: Live Yoga
You might never step on the Yoga mat or hold your nose, and still, you can live Yoga.The Big-Picture-Yoga happens when you live your nature in everything you do. The union or perfection you seek is already ever present.
Tip 2: Do what you love the most
To connect to your true nature, means connecting to what you love the most. The way you are with your family and the work you do in this world ideally reflects your deepest passions and unique gifts.
Tip 3: Give to Yourself
- Learn to give to yourself as you continuously give to others. There is always a way. If you don’t try, you will never find out.
- Helping yourselves means helping others, and helping others means helping yourselves. As mother, you have the opportunity to practice both.
- Motherhood is full of wonders!
Conclusion – My Offerings:
Life has taught me that embracing the entirety of existence is where true power resides. It’s in understanding that the challenges and joys of motherhood are threads intricately woven into the fabric of life. It’s in the harmony of discipline and freedom, of structure and spontaneity, that I’ve found my compass to navigate the labyrinth of motherhood with grace and authenticity.
As you traverse your own path, know that you’re not alone. My story and the practical advice shared here stand as beacons of inspiration and support, illuminating the terrain ahead. I extend my hand to you, offering the lessons learned from yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and self-exploration. These tools have helped me unlock the potential within, and I believe they can do the same for you.
In the upcoming blogs, videos, and in my role as a teacher, coach, and mentor, I strive to be your partner on this journey. Together, we delve into the art of self-expression and the mastery of living a life aligned with your deepest values. We learn to nurture ourselves as we do our children, fostering compassion and love within our hearts. The fusion of discipline and practical tools, such as Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation, Qigong, and Coaching, guides us on an expedition of self-discovery and empowerment.
Motherhood, rather than hindering our growth, becomes the catalyst for it. It’s a role where we find meaning and fulfillment, a role that empowers us to weave our unique threads into the grand tapestry of existence. Through my offerings, I encourage you to embrace your individuality and bask in the beauty of your multifaceted role as a mother in the tapestry of life.
With love and light,
Verena Gayatri Primus
Remember, awakening takes less than a second, but refining your daily routines, habits, and continued growth takes a lifetime!
Bonus Tip: Simply enjoy
and embrace what already is.
I hope to see you in the next blogs and videos, and if you’d like to be a part of our Mama-Yogi community or would like more information about how I can support you, please sign up for ongoing insider news or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive support on your journey.