Today I’m proud to provide you with a guest post by a fellow yogi, mom and blogger Elizabeth Gallo. Elizabeth grew up in Evanston, but now teaches yoga in New Jersey where she lives with her husband and two little girls. You can read more about her journey on her blog.
Yoga teaches us to develop and honor balance. For me — and I think for many moms — many times this concept is difficult to tune into, let alone master physically, mentally and spiritually.
In yoga we build our poses from the ground up, starting with our feet. We draw up strength from the earth, balancing in each foot front to back, side to side. We bring the earth’s prana, drawn from the feet, into the ankles, engaging the lower legs. Balance requires joints just so — not locked, not loose. We rotate the inner thighs inward, allowing the tailbone to release. We lift up out of our hips, squaring, drawing the low abdomen in, broadening in the chest; arms plugged into the shoulder sockets, shoulder blades woven together on the back, neck free, and head floating just on top of the spine. Here we find ease. But even in Tadasana, if something distracts us, we lose balance.
If our lives could be built just so. It would probably be easier. But in reality, life for a mom is more like a game of dodge ball. Last Monday, my not yet 3 year old decided she didn’t want to wear diapers anymore. I was totally caught off balance. First thought: Ack! I’m not prepared for potty training. Second thought: Wait, cool…let’s get on with it. My plans for a breezy spring week were dashed as I made plans for this transition. Translation: I ran around like a headless chicken either preventing accidents or cleaning ones up. We went through a lot of panties, paper towels and patience. My older daughter shined as a head cheerleader supporting her little sister at every step. By the end of the week we had found a groove.
In the next month we’ve got birthday parties, Father’s Day, and preparation and packing for our annual trip, along with the usual cooking, laundry, teaching and volunteering. Hopefully there will also be a lot of yoga, snuggles with my little girls and hopefully a few nice, quiet evenings, just my husband and me. In all that, I’m sure I’ll be knocked off balance at least a few times, just like when I let my head drop in Bakasana. Everything will be going well and then head drop — face plant. Maybe the key is, just like in that pose, to keep looking forward, to keep my head up.
I often remind the women in my prenatal yoga class that they wake up with a different body every day as gestation takes its course, and to honor themselves, wherever they are on that journey. I think this is good training for life as a mom. We have new lives each day as our children and we continue to change and develop. Even with our best routines, life will continue to throw us balls to dodge. We will wobble like with do in Vrksasana, but ultimately we will find a point of focus, draw in the mid line and find some sort of balance. We’ll put it back together and rebuild if we fall out completely.
I try to keep my head up, admidst all the madness. But, these days I practice Bakasana with a blanket — a crash pad if you will because it honors where I am. At least if I lose my balance I won’t break my nose.