Oh blogworld, it feels like a lifetime since I have put words to my thoughts! My last post was over a month ago, which pretty much is a lifetime, in this fast-paced world of social media. What can I say? I find myself having to choose, in these long, busy stretches of unrelenting parenthood, where time and energy are parceled out and one has to carefully negotiate for that elusive, precious bit of ‘me’ time, should I write or should I practice? And as a yogi first, I must keep fueling the fires of my spiritual practice first, and write about it later…
And so, this past month, I’ve been thinking hard and fast about priorities and how to make time for my top priorities. Having established what these top priorities are (after the topmost priority of all: my kid, it’s yoga and writing), I’ve been gradually coming to terms with scaling down on an enjoyable hobby of mine (reading) in order to make more time. This sounds great in theory, but I fear the time I make for writing is fast going to be replaced with another innocent, wholesome hobby (knitting). However, if knitting is the new yoga, as some might claim, then two birds, one stone and all that, hey? Not really sure I like that saying at all, not terribly shanti after all, but can’t think of an alternative at the moment. Forgive me.
Anyway, on the yoga yoga side of things, I do believe that last time, I promised I would share some of the core strengthening exercises I have been doing postpartum. Once I had healed from the labor and my pelvis felt strong and stable again, which was around the third month post delivery, I began doing a two week program called Strong Core, which I found on the Yoga Journal website. I particularly like the Sphinx Roll-Up found in Day One, which felt really beneficial in straightening out my drooping postural tendencies which come from front-heavy activities like breastfeeding and baby wearing. I also find linking the core work into the up/down dog transition, as explained in Day 2, to be useful and helpful. These are a few of the tools I have incorporated at the moment and I do them whenever I have a few spare minutes (five, ten) in the afternoons or after my morning practice. Just a quick disclaimer: this Strong Core program has not been designed specifically for postpartum purposes, so do proceed carefully. I waited until I felt ‘normal’ again before starting these exercises.
I had been planning to write a post exclusively about my practice postpartum, following the same trajectory with my post on Ashtanga yoga and pregnancy. However, I feel this interview I did with Tanya and Rebelle Society sums things up quite nicely. Besides, I feel I am still discovering just what this practice postpartum really is and so far it’s got more to do letting go of grand expectations, giving more of yourself than you thought possible, and not worrying too much about getting ‘back’ to how the asana practice was. It’s pretty hard to do sometimes, but there you have it. My spiritual path right now is motherhood and nowhere have I heard that either a spiritual path or motherhood come easily and effortlessly.
But, joy is there! When my little son responds and reacts with great giggles and peals of laughter. When I can give in to my inner child and let myself be present and playful. When my baby offers nothing but himself, his soft, warm, doughy skin, his puffy cheeks, dribbly mouth and toothless smile, abundant joy is there. Bless! And when I feel, with every cell in my body, stress and exhaustion and frustration, I turn to Abundant Mama, who offers mothers, women, a most powerful and precious gift: a reminder that we need to be kind to ourselves (and others).
One way I feel kindness towards myself is rediscovering knitting, a much-loved old hobby of mine. I felt so inspired by this company I discovered not long ago, Wool and the Gang, that I decided to become an ambassador for them and help spread their funky, woolly message. I’ve already made a necklace using t-shirt yarn made from the leftover materials from fashion factories. All the stuff that is left behind after a t-shirt has been made gets resourced into yarn. Not bad, huh?
If you are in the Helsinki area on Tuesday, September 16th, you can join me at my second living room, Brooklyn Cafe, for an evening of cupcakes (baked at Brooklyn Bakery) and necklace making. Please note that you must order your knitting kit beforehand (Tuesday, September 9th is the last day to place your order). It’s going to be fun so if you are up for making merry, you know the time and place, good people!
So, dear readers, in the midst of the crazy, stressy goodness that is not just motherhood, but lifehood, once we have mourned the loss of our old selves, the loss of all the time we had ‘before’, instead of allowing the record player of our minds keep scratching over and over the same self-fulfilling groove, getting entrenched in the prophecy of frustration and disappointment of ‘not enough time’ and ‘too tired’, let’s offer ourselves one better. Let’s sing a new song entirely. Let’s use our babies, our families, our circumstances as the instruments. Let’s compose melodies and arrange harmonies with them. Let’s create, sing and move to new songs in, thank you Stevie Wonder, the key of Life! On this note (ha ha), I’m off to play this very album and dance around the room with mon petit chéri!
Stay blessed and feel it all fully. Om <3!