Today is my very last Enlightened Motherhood post. It’s been more than three years since I began writing this blog. When I started writing about yoga and motherhood, my son Lucien was a toddler in diapers. Now he’s a soon-to-be first grader with his very own yoga practice. Here are my favorite, and most enduring, lessons from the past three years of yoga mom blogging.
1. When you (or your children) feel like freaking out, take a breath.
I can go from 0 to 60 like that, and so can my son. Our biggest, most important—and daily—yogic practice has been to take a breath when something goes wrong. We’ll stop on the sidewalk, sit down on the kitchen floor, we’ve even been known to use conscious breathing on the subway. One breath is good, and five is even better. Breathing together calms our systems and brings us closer.
2. Even though it’s just about impossible to carve out the time, do get yourself to class.
There are plenty of weeks when I disobey my own rule—and I almost always end up regretting it. Although it’s a huge challenge to find time away from work and family to get to a weekly (or even better, twice weekly) yoga class, when I do get myself there I see why this matters so much. All week long after class with a wise and knowledgeable teacher, I find myself mothering with more patience and generosity and kindness.
3. Be kind to yourself when it just doesn’t happen.
Some weeks you just aren’t going to make it to yoga class. You have a new baby, a sick child, a spouse who is out of town, a work deadline, a bad cold. It’s OK! This week, motherhood is your yoga practice.
4. Home practice, home practice, home practice.
There’s always the living room floor. Roll out your mat after bedtime or during a nap; maybe even pop in a DVD for your little ones. Even a 25-minute session (just one PBS kids show) and you’ll feel renewed. My favorite practice for moms? Restoratives!
5. You are what you eat.
Food is an investment in your family’s well-being. Create a kitchen garden in your backyard; visit your local farmer’s market; slow down your afterschool and work schedule so that there’s time to make a healthy, whole-food dinner.
6, Try, try again.
When it comes to broccoli, bedtime, conscious breathing, and everything in between, don’t give up on offering your child the healthy choice again and again. One day she’ll surprise you.
Thanks to all the moms and dads who took this journey with me. I’ll continue writing for Yogajournal.com as a guest blogger from time to time, and keep an eye out for my reviews and articles in Yoga Journal, the print magazine, including an upcoming feature story this fall about prenatal yoga. I hope you’ll find my author page on Facebook and follow me on Twitter so we can stay in touch and I can keep you updated on my latest writing. And please look for my new memoir about family estrangement, a Kindle Single coming soon to Amazon.