Two-stepping to exciting news!

It has certainly been a dance lately. Things have dropped off, unforeseen distractions that required a lot of time and focus have prevailed, and I’ve drifted a bit. Mostly with my writing, which filled me with frustration. Why is it that the things that nurture and support us the most are the first to fall off the plate? I tried to calm the voice that insisted I should be doing this, I could do that. But to be fair to myself, life was chaotic and unpredictable for a couple weeks and I thankfully had yoga to ride out the waves. So another lesson for the future, not to let the writing go, as it likely would have given me just a little bit more of what I needed in the recent tricky patch. Thankfully, back to equilibrium for now, writing back on track. (Oh how I missed you sweet sweet writing)

In gratitude related news, mom is here. It has been heaven, having her support, especially while I dealt with aforementioned distractions. Someone to take the girl-a-licious for a bit. To walk out of the house unencumbered for a morning swim at the beach now and then, a delicious freedom that I do miss some days. To go into a store without a mild panic about racing home for a nap, or wondering about when someone’s patience will understandably wane (hey, grocery stores are only exciting for so long). And to just spend time with mom, have her in proximity for day to day stuff; someone to talk to. I am not thinking ahead, enjoying now. It’s a special time for darling and Grandma. Now there’s talk of a visit from Turd Bird’s aunt. Bring it on, can’t wait to see my sis!

A yoga-related development has arisen: I’m returning to teaching in less than a month! Hoooray!!! I’ve found a day and time that will work; I’m ready. And I’m going to venture down a new path that feels right.

I’ve gained so much from my meditation practice that I want to facilitate the experience with students. Classes begin March 18th and I cannot wait to share! If you’re anywhere near the South Fremantle area Tuesday evenings, stop into Sevenergy and enjoy a first class free during the first four weeks. It would be an honour and privelege to see you there.

The Bottom Line

So the low back is still a bit sore; I’ve had to take it very slow to get back to recovery but it has been a blessing. I was making my way from sofa to floor with darling on board when I lost my footing and smacked my sacrum hard. A few vertebrae were compacted and the pain ensued though it was bearable, considering we had a back yard that was going to quickly fill up with guests.

The day after my legs tingled and I could barely grab sweetness from her cot; I was desperate for any bit of relief that thankfully my chiropractor helped with. She advised I would be at least four weeks before the back was completely resettled. It’s been longer and I still wake with low back pain and I have become acutely aware of tightness in my groin and psoas. All chain reactions to the initial trauma of the impact.

New opportunities arise when we are hit with a setback. My return to intense, short gym sessions have been put on hold to make sure my back is fully recovered. In its place I’ve become acquainted with a yoga practice that is responding precisely to my needs. I’ve had to take it slow, feel it out day by day, and pull back more often than not. Giving me more time for meditation, quiet, and of course an appreciation for a healthy pain-free body.

It’s nice to witness true discomfort. It has allowed me to create some sequences that I believe will work in this region of the body that so many people are affected by. And it has given me a strong reminder of what it is when a student approaches me in the future and mentions low back pain, or any pain for that matter. It can be easy to forget what that really means if we don’t experience discomfort regularly, so I’m thankful for the reminder.

Lastly, I’ve been introduced to a new style of yoga: Yin. I’ve been a couple times to a class put on by the lovely Fiona Galloway of YogaBlu. I was so inspired by how incredible I felt, in both mind and body, after the class that I purchased Bernie Clark’s book, Complete Guide to Yin Yoga. I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

So yeah, I’m grateful for this. Though I’m a little off my original plan it’s an interesting detour. I’m still growing and learning, which is for me the bottom line.

What’s your bottom line? When things have gone astray from what you may have envisaged what remains important to you? And if at first you tell yourself it’s not there, do you see it if you look a bit deeper?

Rajasic Naptime

Some days I do better than others. Things can feel calm and collected and flow so easily despite the disarray. Others I think of all the things that I wish to do and I contemplate how to condense them into two one-hour naps and I yearn for the time when life was not carved out for just me in such small snippets.

Hubby is volunteering so I have the main chunk of today with our girl. Lucky for me we had a family outing to the beach this morning and I had a wonderful swim in the choppy waves while dad and turd bird played in the sand and shallows. The swim was tough but I enjoyed it, loved the feel of coming out of the water panting, arms a bit achy and fatigued from the effort, legs wobbling as they took their first steps on the beach. Aside, very disappointing how the WA government is treating our shark friends, who have every right to be in their habitat.

And it has cascaded from there; something about the swim put an energy in me that has me wanting to take big bites today. We came home she went down for a nap quickly. Always a few chore things like dishwasher, one load of laundry etc, unless I am completely at my wits end, which I am at times, and then I force myself to just stop.

But today, there is so much to do! I am feeling very rajasic, how to get to the sattvic? I optimistically purchase The Australian every weekend, and am lucky to get through two sections – I want to read it all and be up to date on all world issues so I can go to my imaginary dinner parties, holding my glass of wine blithely in my hand so informed about everything, so witty and relaxed, not thinking or worrying about my child at all, who is in someone else’s care and is probably doing just fine but I cannot help but think about her every breathing moment. But no dinner invitations loom, so really, it’s just something I love to do that was once just a thing that is now much harder. Oh and some yoga, meditation, maybe that can wait until the afternoon nap? What about the writing, yes I must definitely get to that today, the household has taken over my resolution a bit this week, but all to a more organised, smoother life, eventually, hopefully.

And tomorrow a big one for us, Big Day Out for mom and dad: Pearl Jam and Primus for dad, Arcade Fire for mom. A wee bit of youthful fun that has taken a lot of coordination to pull off. So perhaps I should type up some notes for the two shifts of care we have sorted for her so there are no questions because for some reason people do not call or text and just clarify or ask before making their own decisions which really annoys me because hey, there are certain things I do want done certain ways and for good reason. Or maybe it’s just a respect and manners thing, the Canadian, consultative, inclusive part of me that seeks clarity and what I would expect from others in what I can only label (naughty!) a cowboy country from time to time. “She’ll be ‘right; we’ll do it and then see what happens instead of trying to do it more right the first time.” That’s a larger, very generalised statement but I digress and I’m in the mood for a bit of snark.

And then there’s my little blog thing, which I do love and have written a few posts for but that are all living in the editing room at the moment, more yoga focused than this little unplanned, cathartic rant.

I joked with my husband that maybe I’d get more alone time if we were divorced – I was kidding. But seriously, he would have her more on his own than the current arrangement. Well, he retorts, you should speak up and say something more often. Guess what’s happening when he gets home? Truly he is wonderful and helpful.

Oh and another anticipatory note, my mom is coming from Canada for a month. Just to stay and give me a brief reprieve, where sorting the gym visit will be as simple as going out for an hour instead of having to put reminders in my phone to call the crèche because I keep forgetting. Where hubby and I can go to the odd movie and dinner without having to think twice. I wonder if mom had any plans to do something herself?

Ok, back to a speed-read of that newspaper (at least the most important bits like Review and the magazine)! Time is ticking.

Update: Bub-licious awake the moment I pressed publish! And what a delicious little treat she is. X

Baby Steps

Baby Steps

ImageI love the New Year. Although I can get very Grinch-y about Christmas (I refrained from posting my anti-Christmas piece) there’s something about marking the year out fresh that fills me with renewed motivation.

2013 was a big one. A great, tough year with a lot of new experiences plus challenged and surpassed expectations. Despite being laid up with a nasty back injury – who knew reading Where is the Green Sheep to her sweetness was so hazardous? – I am feeling very positive about 2014.

I love resolutions. I like to think I’m realistic about it but it’s always good to re-evaluate, re-assess and move ahead. There are some big long-term goals that I’ve had for awhile, and realistically I wonder if they can all co-exist.

My little life coach, aka Turd Bird, has done a fine job of forcing me to focus. The juggle of motherhood has shown time’s limits, and with the squeeze I quickly notice where my heart pulls. Things that seemed important have drifted into the background while others, which I used to call hobbies, have become my lifeblood. For example, my super duper magnificent yoga studio can wait; but I can rarely go a day without some form of writing or creativity.

So I’m going to loosen my grip on the big goals, knowing they’re still there, still attainable, as I don’t want them to create pressure. I wonder if thinking about them too much makes them feel further away, preventing me from enjoying the present. Which is actually a pretty lovely place.

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brave new world

Chickadee is taking steps in small bursts. It is buoying to see her bravery grow each day. One day three steps, the next day six, then ten, and yesterday I lost count in the back yard as she trotted around on the grass! Trying to witness without expectation or overly ebullient praise, despite the swelling pride and awe. Eliza Parker of Conscious Baby Blog explains why so well.

She’s never upset with the pace of her progress; she just does what she can when she can. I have yet to see her crumple into a ball of despair if she can’t get to her destination. She knows she’s going to get there, picks herself up again or opts for a crawl. Such a wise little gem.

So in honour of the cheeky girl, I declare 2014 the year of baby steps. I’ve picked five little things I’m going to focus on:

  1. Just one – Teach one yoga class a week. I’ve noticed my mind has drifted towards what’s not possible – that studio’s schedule is full, this studio only hires teachers who have specific training etc. etc. So I have to start thinking about what is possible. First, finding a space, sorting out my credentials as my admin has waned this past year, taking steps with the intention of having my own class to teach once a week.
  2. Writing – There’s my blog, and a couple other things I’m working on, a short story, but mainly a novel. I have over 9000 disjointed words, yet the characters and trajectory are very much alive. I realise I’m slowing myself down by insisting I am in the “perfect” space and writing for one or two hours, meaning sporadic bouts of productive writing. But 15 minutes a day is going to have to do sometimes, and on a more daily basis.
  3. Fitness – The hour-long sessions don’t fit, and not working out because they don’t is self-defeating. After my back recovers(which may be awhile), I’ll continue to focus on the two per week half hour Les Mills’ GRIT classes at the gym, along with the online classes I squeeze in on fitnessglo, or self-guided asana practice, while darling naps. Life: always better after a good movement session.
  4. Thanks a lot – There are some beautiful baby tunes, that when combined with my hormones can get messy. They are such sweet, simple reminders. This song by Raffi says it all. For me: more gratitude, less discontent. Our family has been so blessed; I’ll focus on acknowledging this more, in smooth and rough times.
  5. Last but not least – She’s tall for her age but still pretty small. And she’s a real hoot. So it all comes back to her; what sort of example am I setting? Did we have some fun and meaningful interaction today? Was I in her moment with her? Where do we want our lives to go as a family? What will I tell her about the scary but brave steps I took so she’s inspired to keep on doing what she’s all ready taught me?

So what are your resolutions this year if any? Big, small or none at all?

Happy New Year!

For the YogaMammas

It’s been over a year since our beautiful turd bird arrived on the scene. Only recently do I sense that I have my body “back”. Not precisely the same but a close facsimile to the pre-pregnancy version. It was a slower process than I anticipated, but I think it’s just the way my body is.

I’m not referring to the bikini-ready, People front page version, but the body that runs, jumps, dances and moves free of those interesting twitches and pangs post pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. The version that I am grateful for with all of its imperfections, regardless of how it looks in a bikini.

Granted there are also many changes that occur on a mental, emotional, familial and spiritual level that are interconnected. But taking care of our bodies when we recover from the demands of pregnancy and childbirth while adjusting to parenthood is one ingredient for a happy family. Naturally, I think nothing helps you take better care than a little bit of yoga love. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner, or have recently decided that you want to incorporate yoga into your life, the tips offered below come from my own experience as a mother and yogini. I’d love to hear what worked for you.

  1. Start with your centre and expand out. With patience.
    Post birth, whether vaginal or surgical, expect your physical practice to be very limited. Pregnancy hormones still have a strong affect on your ligaments and connective tissues, and will do so for at least six months, longer if you are breastfeeding. Now is not the time to move vigorously or expansively. Tone down any asanas that involve deep opening of the pelvic or hip region, keeping muscles activated to prevent the strains, pulls and tears you are more susceptible to. Put simply, bring everything into your midline or centre, expanding over time and ensuring you feel no discomfort. 

  2. Do what you can when you can.
    Let go of the idea of a scheduled time for your asana, meditation or relaxation practice and allow it to fall into place where it will. In time, things will settle and you’ll figure out what works for you. In the early days especially I relied on some wonderful postnatal classes led by Stephanie Snyder on Yogaglo. Even now, there are still days where I press pause numerous times throughout the day before I finish a class. Sometimes I meditate amongst a cyclone of toys for 15 minutes while girlie naps. There are all sorts of new variations that were not my modus operandi pre-motherhood. Find yours.
  3. Listen to your body, aligning your practice to your needs.
    Prior to bub’s arrival, at least later into the third trimester, I was a vinyasa fiend. While I still love a flowing practice I’ve noticed I am now drawn to a slower, deeper yoga experience. My upper back, neck, side body, shoulders, hips and psoas are craving juicy, long-held postures after carting around, picking up, setting down and swinging around her highness all day. Repetition of the same postures helps to gradually loosen those knots and tight spots. Right now, variety is not the spice of life; savouring the moment when my body can unfurl from the daily demands of mammahood is the current sweet spot. If you’ve returned to your practice be sure you return to what you need now. Respond to your body with your practice and see where it takes you.
  4. Yoga Nidra is your friend.
    Particularly in the beginning as you slog through the sleep-deprived haze. Also known as yogic sleep, this powerful practice allows your mind and body to restore and heal. I’ve purchased a few recordings off iTunes of various lengths that I use when feeling really depleted or frazzled. Those days I know the game plan at nap time: throw the puzzles and blocks to one side – make room for the mat, bolster and blanket, grab the eye pillow and voila!  Sometimes I fall asleep, other times I am able to sustain conscious awareness throughout the relaxation, as recommended. Either way, I always have a better attitude and more energy afterwards.
  5. Don’t do yoga, be yoga.
    The other day I overheard a new mom complaining about how she is no longer doing enough yoga – hmmm wonder who that could be? Yoga is not just about zooming through asanas or sitting for hours in meditation. It can be about spending a mindful moment with your bambino – or stepping back from yourself, or detaching during times of parental frustration. You can be yoga anytime.

Stay tuned; I’ll expand on this topic in future posts.