The Yoga of Motherhood…

Parenting in today’s world is hard. I know people say this all the time but it has recently hit me pretty hard. I have an almost-3-year-old and 3-month-old baby. The hard part: living up to social-media mom standards.

Screen time? Taboo. Formula feed? Breast is best. Breastfeed in public? Judgmental stares. Elective C-section? Not the way nature intended it. Natural birth? Show off.

Y’all… we can’t win.

We as moms post pictures of our children’s achievements and happy moments. Not many moms talk about the meltdowns and moments where you cry with your child because you’re so overwhelmed. Now don’t misconstrue what I’m saying here; I am absolutely not telling you to post a picture of your child having a meltdown. Your child desperately needs you in that moment. They need you to be fully present and not looking at your phone and posting a paragraph explaining what’s happening and brainstorming clever hashtags.

I’m suggesting that we take a moment to lift each other up. Be truthful when you speak to your friends about your family. Ask for advice. Be a good listener. Start to let go of that judgement on yourself and others.

Ahimsa… the yoga of motherhood

Ahimsa in yoga is non-violence or non-harming. Non-violence towards ourselves and others helps us to clear our minds of toxic thought patterns and allow positivity to flow in.

The first of the Yamas is Ahimsa, or non-violence. Non-violence towards others and ourselves, and a consideration for all living things.

Meditation

Meditation is a great way to practice ahimsa. Meditation has been proven to assist us in ending the patterns in our lives that we keep repeating over and over. Negative self talk, blaming others for things that go wrong in our lives, and of course judging ourselves and others are all things that can become amplified as we sit in meditation. Through meditation we learn to identify and observe these thoughts then gently let them go.

I am committing myself to meditating for at least 2 minutes a day even if it means meditating with a baby strapped to me because it’s the only way he will nap (practicing ahimsa towards myself here). I’m starting with 2 minutes and working my way up to 30 minutes to 1 hour and being okay with the 2 minute days mixed in between.

Loving kindness meditation…

A loving kindness or metta meditation helps us to redirect those negative thoughts towards ourselves and others and replace them with positive thoughts.

To do this meditation first repeat these phrases towards yourself, then direct them towards someone you have a positive relationship with, then to a neutral party, next to someone with whom you have a challenging relationship, then finally to all beings everywhere.

Find a comfortable position to sit in and close your eyes. Start by noticing your breath. Don’t change it, just notice; is it deep or shallow? Slowly start to deepen your breath. Inhale: fill your belly, ribs, then chest. Exhale: chest goes down, then ribs, then belly. Take about 3 rounds of deep breaths then allow your breathing to become relaxed and easy. Move your Minds Eye from the breath to your body and perform a scan of the body, from the head to your toes, letting go of holding, effort and judgement. Repeat the following phrases in your head several times in a gentle way. Allow your mind to rest on the statements.

Loving Kindness to Yourself: May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free from pain and suffering.

Loving Kindness Towards Someone who has had a Positive Influence in your Life, then a neural party, then towards a challenging person: May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from pain and suffering.

Loving Kindness Towards all Beings: May all beings be happy. May all beings be healthy. May all beings be free from pain and suffering.

Notice as you perform this metta meditation over time if your natural thought patterns start to shift from negative to positive. Negativity and judgmental thoughts won’t just *poof,* go away, but you may start to see loving thoughts edging in. Also, try practicing ahimsa as you scroll through your social media pages. Non-judgment on your peers, non-judgement on yourself. When you find yourself judging or comparing simply think, “May you/I be happy, healthy and free from pain and suffering.” Changing how your mind navigates the world (and the internet) is very important to living with ahimsa.

Peace & love,

New year, new intention…

I love celebrating the new year. I love any reason for a fresh start. Even though as a teacher we’re only half way through the school year; it’s a great reason to pause, reflect, and set a new intention for the remaining school year ahead and for 2019 as a whole.

This year instead of setting a goal I have decided to invite more intention into my life.

In my yoga teacher training I meet a wonderful soul, Emilie Maynor who has started her own company, Emilie Maynor Elemental Living. Emilie says, “There’s a distinct difference between bringing focus to your life versus arbitrary goal or resolution setting… Goals & resolutions are often motivated by external influencers. They come from the “shoulds,” insecurities or comparisons in life.”

A focused intention honors who and where you are right now, as well as what you are calling into your life. Intention setting, Sankalpa in Sanskrit, speaks to your ability to resolve more than the resolution or expectation of a resolution. It’s a goal created by the heart and mind.” (Emilie Maynor)

Emilie says, “Intention is purposeful and honest.”

At the beginning of the school year my principal invited each teacher to come up with #oneword for our school year. After a short writing activity I came up with two words to chose from: Love & Peace. I chose “peace” because I felt that it embodied everything I was aiming towards in my life. I chose to be at peace in the difficult moments and it has really helped me in stressful moments.

I really liked the idea of one word or short phrase to reflect upon throughout the year and really enjoyed all the peace and clarity that “peace” brought me over the past few months. Emilie also says “simply choosing a word or short phrase to embody over the year is most impactful.”

For 2019 my new word is “presence.” I am here. In my body and mind, I aim to be fully present in all moments.

I started January 1, 2019 with my family and being fully present. We went for a hike, we cooked dinner and hosted for my family and friends, we toasted champagne to the present moment and to a healthy and happy 2019.

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January 1, 2019

I invite you to bring focus into your life and find your one word or phrase for 2019.

If your struggling to find your word and don’t know where to start Emilie has a helpful worksheet! Click here for Emilie’s worksheet to invite purpose, clarity, and intention into 2019.

Happy new year, dear friend!

Yoga, babies, and self-love… 

I had this vision when I was pregnant of practicing yoga with my infant baby laying next to me joyfully kicking around, maybe stopping to breastfeed then going right back to my practice.

Well, that didn’t happen. I’m 4 months postpartum and just now starting my yoga practice back up. I ended up with two bouts of mastitis and one breast abscess that needed to be surgically drained (accompanied by a 5-day hospital stay). On top of that I had a wound-vac attached to my breast for 7 weeks after surgery making yoga not only hard to accommodate around the tube coming out of my boob, but also painful.

I was stiff. Still am. I could feel it in my knees, thighs, hamstrings, and back how much I needed my practice back. But my body needed time to heal more than I needed to force myself back into yoga before by body was ready. And besides, the only way to take care of a newborn at home was to take care of myself first. I rested as much as I possibly could while caring for my newborn baby; officially putting yoga on pause until further notice.

I feel more stiff than I did when I first started yoga. But I guess it makes sense given what all my body has been through in the last year. I’m choosing to love myself and my new post-baby bod. I’m choosing to remember that my body doesn’t have to be “hard” to give love to my baby, in fact, he probably enjoys the squishy-ness.

My yoga practice is slow, thoughtful, and full of love for myself and what my body has done for me and my family. My boobs are two different sizes and one has a round red scar where I had an abscess; but they continue to fuel my baby with nutrition, love, and comfort all the same. Yoga is often interrupted by a crying baby in need of nursing or a cuddle and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Some days yoga doesn’t happen. I am reminded of this when my stiff body is climbing into bed at the end of the day. It’s going to be a long road back to where I used to be in my practice but for now I’m okay with trading 90 minutes of yoga for sweet baby cuddles and a down-dog here and there.

Shine on,

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~ Mama Lindsey

Love wins… 

I have never checked my Facebook and liked as many statuses as I did on June 26, 2015. I realized that I have surrounded myself with people who support the same things as I do and it’s an amazing feeling.


I have always been told to keep your political opinions to yourself and in the past I’ve had a very easy time with this because I’m not too into politics. A few of my friends may cringe but… Politics don’t interest me (as most already know). But I feel the need to express my feelings about why I support marriage equality and why I am so proud that our country has taken such a momentous step.

Contemplating this over the last few days I have found that I have a few reasons why I feel so strongly about marriage equality that I would want to express it in writing for all to see…

  1. When I was younger my parents always had gay friends, aka. “friends.” There was never a question of why he liked boys or why she liked girls. They were just my parents friends and outstanding human beings at that. Why would you have a friend that was anything but an extraordinary human being?
  2. I was also raised to be kind to everyone. No exceptions to this rule. Period.
  3. When I was in my late teens my parents had a great friend battle breast cancer. This friend and her partner of 10+ years faced cancer together, as any couple would do. But since they were not legally married her partner was not granted any spousal leave or support to care for her partner in her last days on earth. I witnessed my mom and all of her friends from work donate their vacation days to her so she could be with her partner and not have to worry about losing her job. So fairly early into my adult years where I’m forming my own opinions and figuring out the type of human being I’m going to be, I see this amazing example of love and that it doesn’t matter what your race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. Love is love.

I was also raised in the baptist church. I am southern, after all. So I believe in Jesus, God, and the bible. I have never been one to take the bible so literally… And I’m not going to throw around the typical argument of “if you want to take the bible so literally that I know a few women who should be stoned…” So I’m going to let these articles do the talking for me…

Read what this Christian pastor promises to do if his children are gay… This article is an amazing example of acceptance and love no matter what.

“I won’t love them despite their sexuality, and I won’t love them because of it. I will love them; simply because they’re sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful… and mine.” ~John Pavlovitz

And lastly, I’m also proud of my friends that don’t support marriage equality but post things like this… 5 things Jesus would say to the gay community… Although I don’t agree with pushing your religion on anyone, this article is full of love and acceptance. And that what it’s all about. Love one another.

Love and equality,

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Merry everything…

This time of year I always like to think about all of my blessings and all things good and bad that have happened throughout the year. I have seen a prominent ebb and flow of “good” years and “bad” years. Or rather, productive years that are jam packed and years that I felt like nothing significant happened. This was one of those years that was jam packed… I turned 30, got engaged to the most wonderful man, finished my master’s degree, started a new job, got married to said wonderful man, and took my first trip out of the country. The last couple of years were “slow” years but all building up to what happened in this year.

With everything going on this year was not a big year of yoga. I taught my classes but didn’t attend my beloved Ashtanga classes quite as regularly as I would like. This was the year of home practice for 15 minutes at a time… when I found time. The hardest part about that is that when I finally did “find the time” it was exactly what I needed to treat myself when I was stressed. I have realized that my “slow” years are usually full of yoga and despite the lack of other things going on in my life, I feel really strong and connected through my yoga practice. That’s the wonderful thing about yoga… if I neglect it for a while it’s always there waiting for me when I decide to come back.

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Sometimes when you’re in a “slow” year and not really happy where you are it’s hard to practice presence and not worry about what’s next. When in all reality, it’s okay to anticipate what’s next. It’s okay to prepare and make moves to be a better you. What’s not okay is to sit and wish and hope that things will just change. Go get it, be the change you want to see in your life. You are the driving force. For me, 2008 and 2009 were my “slow” years. I had just found my yoga practice in 2008 and it was taking me on a whirlwind trip of emotions trying to figure out how to get out of the hole I was standing in. My first move was to go back to school and finish my bachelors degree. But with 2 years of school only adding up to 2 semesters of credit I felt so small next to a huge mountain. Standing on the other side of that mountain I see that it all started with that one step. At the top of that mountain was not only a bachelor’s degree, but a masters, a career, and a whole new life built around it… and it was all because of that one small step; with my computer in my lap searching for a way to go to school and keep my desk job.

Will I encounter more “slow” years? Absolutely. But I know as long as I keep pushing forward those slow years will be followed by the years when I don’t even realize I’m in a “good” year because it’s so full of joy.

Merry EVERYTHING,

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