My primary identification right now is mother of a toddler. This role colors every aspect of my life and yoga is no exception. My son is two and a half. Three and a half years ago, I had a strong home practice alongside consistent twice weekly studio visits. Mornings included 10-15 minutes of asana before another 10-15 minutes of breath and meditation. I’d recently completed four years of intensive yoga study – back to back 200 hr and 500 hr teacher training programs with multiple Breitenbush retreats and a weekly breath/meditation/Sutras class. I was deeply committed to self-care. I got pregnant and practiced with minimal modification as my belly expanded. I imagined my practice would continue relatively unchanged with the arrival of my son. I’d take some time off to recover from giving birth and then I’d go to classes in the morning or evening, and practice at home with my baby at my side. Then my son was born and my life turned upside down.
Once I felt ready to move my body again, several weeks later, I was tentative. Exhaustion became the primary sensation of every day and as autumn progressed, the darkness and cold defeated my best intentions to get to class when my partner was home to care for our baby. My home practice shrunk to five minutes, in the precious time each morning between when I could drag myself out of bed and my son’s wake up time for yet another round of feeding. During his multiple naps during the day, I usually did laundry or collapsed into bed myself. I made it to two postnatal classes and never did get to the studio for the class with a childcare offering. After his first birthday, my practice completely stopped for 6 months. Spring finally coaxed me back into it – five minutes of three sun salutations, malasana, reclined twists, and core strengthening. I’d sit still for 3 breaths at the end. I clung to this fiercely for nearly a year, wondering when I’d ever meditate in earnest again.
On a whim, I decided to sign up for the 28 Day Commitment for the first time this February. I grabbed one of the red journals and started recording my short home practice. About a week in, I wanted more. I got up one morning, opened up my Insight Timer app and set it for three minutes. I sat, before my morning gained momentum, and watched my mind swirl. The next morning I did the same. A week later, I craved more. I changed the timer to five minutes. One week into March, I’m still at it, and this morning I added two more minutes to my meditation practice. It’s like riding a bike, except the spinning is in my mind. I just sit and watch.
Posted by: Rebekah Papé
Rebekah Papé is a writer, yoga teacher, and consultant. She teaches pre and postnatal yoga on Saturdays at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill.