by Kate Baltrotsky
What’s the first thing I do as soon as my kids fall asleep?! Do the dishes? Fold the laundry? Start cooking dinner? NO WAY! I unroll my yoga mat next to the bed where the kids are sleeping and start my yoga/breathing/meditation routine that I’ve been doing every day for the past eleven years.
We’ve all seen the picturesque scene of a yogi… Sitting quietly… in a beautiful place… no distractions around… incense burning… lotus flower… blah blah blah… Is that what yoga and meditation look like in my house?! Nope. Well, maybe it used to. Now, I do my yoga routine squashed between the bed and the dresser. I shove toys out of the way when my arm reaches out for the spinal twist. I chant ‘om‘ really quietly so that I don’t wake anyone up. My deep breathes in get interrupted by ‘Mommy, I have to pee‘ and sometimes I have to jump out of my deepest meditation to lay down with a squawking baby. Sometimes the squawking baby ends up in my lap and falls back asleep. Sometimes the squawking baby wakes everyone up and it’s ‘session over‘.
So, is it worth it? Wouldn’t I make better use of my time by cleaning up the toys and hanging out the wash? I don’t think so… All that cleaning stuff is important, but it can wait. To me, the very most important thing about being a mother is being able to respond to my kids. If I’m feeling tired and my head is in a fog, then I’m no good to anyone. After I do my daily routine, my mind feels so fresh and my body is relaxed. I can pick up that baby for the billionth time with enthusiasm! I can answer that ten millionth ‘mommy, why... ‘ question with much more patience. I can somehow come up with the energy to stay focused enough to cook dinner (without burning it) while the baby climbs up my leg (again). Afterwards, I somehow manage to negotiate baths, teeth brushing, book reading, back scratching, rocking, foot rubs and breastfeeding two kids before bed until everyone is asleep. And, I can do all of this much more smoothly when I’m feeling calm and centered.
I’m certainly not perfect. I still go crazy sometimes and get tired. But, I know that the crazy tired lady is less crazy and less tired than she would be if she didn’t do her daily routine of de-stressing. I make sitting on that yoga mat my priority (instead of running to pick up the tupperware strewn all over the kitchen floor)! The tupperware will be there when I finish my meditation. When I finish, and after the kids wake up, then we can run around the house like maniacs cleaning up. But, while I have the chance (and I take just about any I can get these days) you can bet that I am sitting with my eyes closed and taking full advantage of that ‘silent‘ moment.
Sometimes I do yoga poses with the kids awake and climbing all over me. But, a few minutes of *something* is better than nothing, right?
There are lots of ways to meditate and do yoga. The best way to learn is to take a course. If you want to learn the cream of the crop, and what I’ve been doing for the past decade plus, I highly recommend doing the Art of Living Course, which is offered world wide. I loved the Art of Living course so much that I went on to do many more of the courses and eventually became a teacher for their programs. For over ten years, I’ve known that yoga and meditation is the best stuff on the planet! I still feel that way today. Even with two little kids milling around, I wouldn’t skip sitting down for a little ‘journey within‘ for the world!