8 Days of Living Yoga: My Challenge!

I haven’t been blogging, tweeting or FBing recently, you may have noticed! Life as a Mum of 2 littluns has its challenges, particularly as I’m mostly on my own at the moment, my OH is working away for 6 months and only comes home now and again. Evenings have mostly been about putting them to bed and then crashing myself, after clearing up the dinner things, if it’s a good day! I have found myself saying to people recently that I am starting to feel i need my own yoga practice in the mornings before the baby and Tot are awake, but this still feels difficult to achieve. I do practice yoga every day, and i am a firm believer that it is about more than just doing asanas. And also that it can be adapted to life as a parent of young children, without losing integrity. I have felt the benefits of yoga in my every day life without being a perfect yogi; it’s all part of being on the path. But, Something inside is telling me i need to deepen my practice. There is imbalance in my body, i drink too much caffiene and eat too much sugar, my breathing feels uncomfortable when i practice pranayama, i find tension deep in my chest. And even when things go well, I often come away from teaching my classes feeling that i want to make it even better, go deeper, be inspired and inspiring!

So, it came to me today that it’s Easter week , and all around April is bursting forth with new life. Im not a Christian , but i do celebrate Easter in a way as it’s always been a time when my family have tried to get together. Oh, and the chocolate part of course! But this year i cant get to see my family, who are in various parts of the world that i cant get to with the 2 littluns, and my OH cant get home. Friends and OH’s family nearby are busy, so…with our usual activities, my classes, and nursery, on hold, I’m faced with a rather empty feeling week ahead!

An email this morning inviting me to book a weekend yoga retreat in Scotland made me realise this is not something i will be able to do in the near future, at least while I’m still breastfeeding my baby.

I know! I thought! I will do my own yoga retreat… but at home, with my children!

SO, it’s 8 days until Easter’s over and my classes restart, and there are 8 ‘Limbs’ of yoga. I will reflect on one of the limbs at the end of each day and see how i get on with practicing yoga over this time, while balancing this with life with my 3 month old and my just- turned 2 yr old! And keeping my house in order, and doing the admin for my classes, and the odd bit of teaching in between..! I promise to be truthful about how realistic this is, whether i’m really getting up early to practice in the mornings, and when i am feeling about as yoga- ey as a wet leaf. If youre still reading by now, thank you! And i will also be as to the point as i can, as i dont have lots of time to blog with all this yoga to do!

So- reality check- baby is asleep in the sling, my back is hurting (quick birth- induced strain to L back), and i need my bed.

But, i must reflect… The first of the 8 limbs! YAMA. Yama relates to the way we conduct ourselves towards others, our ethics and behaviour. This includes Ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non stealing), brahmacharya (continence /celibacy), and Aparigraha (non greed).

Ok, which one jumps out at me..so the celibacy isnt much of a problem being on my own for the week! Nonviolence sounds easy but is it about more than just not smacking my toddler?! Yes, it is a way of being. Think of the term ‘passive aggressive’; we can still show violence towards someone even by being silent, or by ignoring them. A difficult person may come my way over the next week, and i am going to try to practice nonviolence in this situation. My tendency would be to withdraw; i would only confront if pushed to the absolute limit. But can i practice non violence instead? Patanjali suggests to counter negative thoughts by inviting in opposite thoughts. So when encountered with a difficult person or situation i could just think of fluffy easter bunnies, sunshine and spring flowers! I swear i am going to try it! Could i try it with my children as well? Yes, next time i feel impatience or frustration building up (eg at bedtime when trying to chase my Tot to put her PJs on whilst baby crying, and she is trying to play around?!), i will deliberately counter this with positive thoughts, by tuning into my heart and feeling my love for them instead.

So now for some meditation before bed. I have been having not totally peaceful dreams recently so lets see if this can help turn that around.