Being a parent changes everything. For the first time in our lives, we have everything that we need to do what needs to be done. We may not always feel like it, but it is the truth. When that tiny baby is put into your arms, when you hold your child for that very first time, when you accept the beautiful challenge of parenthood, you are accepting that you are completely able to be the perfect parent for him or her. That does not mean you won’t make any mistakes or errors in judgement. It doesn’t mean that you will always remember to expect the unexpected, or that you will be prepared for everything that life throws at you. But, when you trust your instinct, you will be able to fully provide exactly what your child needs.
When I was creating a username for this blog, I thought about what it means to be a parent and what being a good parent means for a child. The longer that I thought about it, the more clear that it became. The only provisions that I really need in my over-stuffed mommy-tool-box are love and presence. To be a good parent, to be the perfect parent for my child, I depend upon these. Without a doubt, they make everything all right, and keep us – our family- more than alright every single day. In Sanskrit, the word maitri (pronounced my-tree) means loving-awareness. Maitri is more of an ongoing quest or process than a state of being. There is a certain amount of energy that loving, that awareness, asks of us as parents. The more energy that we put into this state of being, the more than we have to offer to ourselves and our family.
Today, take a moment to extend that love and presence out into the world around you, remembering that what you give, you most certainly will receive. Look with eyes of nonjudgment; hear with compassion. Feel with a gentle awareness. Observe your chattering mind, while staying separate from it. The pose savasana, is the perfect complement to parenting. It nurtures the body, breath, and mind reconnecting us to our needs. Whenever you feel as though your love and presence have become overshadowed by everyday stressors, take a moment to rest in your body. Know that you have what it takes to be the perfect parent.
- Lie down on your mat, walking your legs out away from your body. Your feet are hip-distance apart, they relax and drop to the sides. Elongate your spine, your tailbone through your neck. Feel that your arms drift weightlessly away from your body. Your palms are facing the sky, fingers relaxed and curling slightly in. Your entire body is rooted in the earth.
- If you have something to cover your eyes with, do so. This may or may not work for your practice if you might need to open an eye to check on your little being(s).
- Melting deeper into your mat, inhale deeply, feel your belly expand. Exhale your navel toward your spine, in and up. Continue to breathe with an awareness of your body, your breath. Scan your body for areas of tension. (If you are uncomfortable in your neck or hips, use a rolled blanket or pillow to place behind your neck or under your knees.)
- As you rest in your body, become the observer of your breath and your mind. No longer are you actively changing the course of your breath, but you are allowing it to move freely. Silently and respectfully notice the stillness of your mind. If there are still many thoughts, observe them. Allow them to come and go as they will.
- Now, imagine that the sun is shining above you. Its rays are reaching across the earth and toward your feet. Your feet are being warmed by the sun. They feel heavy, comfortable, relaxed. Feel the sun slowly wash over your entire body, working its way towards your neck, face, and scalp. It lingers over areas of tension, loosening tight muscles, bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients. Feel the sun reach the crown of your head. It bring with it a feeling of peace and serenity. Bask in the bliss that sunshine, that rest bring to your busy body. Lie here for as long as you can, absorbing the strength and vitality being brought to your body, your breath, and your mind.
- When you are ready, roll onto your right side for a moment. Slowly, rise to a cross-legged seated position. Bring your hands to your heart in prayer mudra, and bow your head. Thank yourself for taking the time to practice. End with OM. Namaste.
Savasana reintegrates your body, mind, and breath. It deepens your relationship with self and true self, while expanding your ability to love and be present. During pregnancy, it is safer to lie on your left side during relaxation, in a fetal posture or with the left arm bent under the head or neck, legs slightly bent with the right leg extending in front of the left. The right hand can be placed in front of the torso, palm on the ground. Use pillows as necessary for comfort. Later in pregnancy, a pillow or rolled blanket can be placed between the knees.
For beginners, it is important to give yourself room in this new practice. While it seems easy, being still and quiet can be quite difficult. We are often asked to overextend ourselves, physically and emotionally. Take even 5 minutes to rest and allow your nervous system a break, a moment to rejuvenate. Your being will thank you – your family will thank you.
Try this with your baby, toddler, or child at the end of your Yoga practice, during your day, at naptime, or to end your evening. Make sure that you are in a safe space for moving tots. Baby’s can rest safely next to you and enjoy basking in your positive energy. Welcome them into savasana if you wish, placing your baby on your chest. Once your baby is sitting or crawling, allow him or her to come in and out of your practice. Just as each practice is different, so is each interaction during Yoga. Toddlers will often enjoy crawling over mom or dad as you relax into this pose. Tip: As you walk through your relaxation, voice your visualization of the sun warming your body and your babies body. Older children can enjoy savasana to reintegrate their body, mind, and breath at the end of a long day.
If you are interested in learning more about Yoga or about classes offered by Mamoga Wellness, please visit www.beindandunwind.com.