A new perspective on home practice
Updated: May 19
Anyone who is into ashtanga yoga has their home practice set up. It may have different shades or flavors, but it’s there. You wake up, roll out your mat, come to samasthiti and you go. Next thing you know you are reciting the closing mantra and getting yourself in savasana.
It sounds simple – you need a mat, few square meters and some amount of time. No need to say, it all turns upside down once your baby is out of your belly. When I was pregnant I followed a workshop with Petri. He told me then that having kids requires entire surrender. At that time I heard him but I don’t think I actually understood what he said, it was only when my baby was there with me that it became clear..
Planning anything when you have a baby doesn’t work
Having expectations on how the day will go, doesn’t work
You take what you get and you are happy with that
But above all: you have to become easy on yourself. Parenting is not easy, becoming someone’s first go to person is not easy, making decisions for someone is not easy, and trying to combine your love for your baby, your partner, your passions and your goals in your life – is not easy.
Your daily practice when you get a baby is different. There is no more schedule, silence, or sometimes even time to roll out your mat. If you go with expectations from before having a baby you will struggle. The simplest solution is to accept. Accept that you have only a little time to practice. Or that you need to split your practice in few parts cause in between your baby needs to be fed or hugged. And accept not to practice – as much as babies are cute and sweet, they may make you exhausted during the nights so the day after you simply count hours till the sunset again. That will also make you think what is your practice – does it always have to include asanas, how about using the 30 minutes of silence to just be – sit quiet, shut down and relax. Something I would never even think of as an acceptable replacement of my asana practice before Lily was born. Something that became reality and often my favorite moment of the day after Lily’s lovely arrival.
Ashtanga yoga is meant for house holders. Having said that, it sometimes feels like guidance for when you face challenges of a 'family guy', is missing. We are used to being taught when to inhale when to exhale, and when we find ourselves in the 'life upside down positions' we have no clue what to do. My advice here would be:
Take it easy on yourself. I know I said it before, but it’s so important and we always forget about it..
Don’t overthink it. Just start by doing what you used to do and adjust on the way. It will all clear out in the process..
Stay present – if your kid comes to you for a hug or asks you for water when you are going into kapotasana – as hard as it may seem, you do what you need to do..
And most of all, enjoy it! How awesome it is when you are in downward dog, and your kid does the same just under you. Or you go into Parsvakonasana and they ask for a high five. Or! You get into Paschimottanasana and you feel someone climbing on you.
Lily is not even two, and I can bring on tens of examples of her joining my practice. When she was smaller, not interacting with us that much, it may have been easier to keep my practice. But you know what, I prefer 100 times my home practice now. Yes, it is more challenging to get it fully done in one go – actually, hardly ever realistic. And yes, she does not often smiles seeing mommy in funny poses – sometimes she just wants attention fully on herself. But there is a connection. And seeing my baby stepping on the mat, saying ‘mama yoya, lily yoya’ is what makes my heart grow more than anything I could ever think of..