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 non-violence 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,

Global Mala 2015…

September is fast approaching! To me, this means another school year with a new class of precious kindergartners, national yoga month, and Global Mala!

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Global Mala is held on the United Nations International Day of Peace & Fall Equinox every year and people all across the world gather to celebrate peace. As yogi’s, we will gather to practice 108 sun salutations and offer our practice for world peace. Don’t let the number 108 scare you! Come as you are and offer your practice as it is now. Every year we have yogis that come and rock all 108, some set a goal for doing 20, and others come and sit in meditation (or better yet, savasana!) and feel the energy of all the like-minded peaceful humans around them.

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CALLING ALL BIRMINGHAM YOGI’S AND YOGINI’S… 

Join us for a pre-party at Trim Tab Brewery on Thursday, September 17, 7:00-9:00pm. Come out an get to know your yoga community! Fellow yogis from all over Birmingham will be gathering together at Trim Tab to mingle and have some of the best brew in town! Get your photo taken at our photo booth, have your tarot cards read, meet your favorite teachers and fellow yogis, enjoy some eats from Cantina Food Truck and enjoy a beer on a fall evening. (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala pre-party at Trim Tab)

FOR THE MAIN EVENT, we will gather at Vulcan Park on Saturday, September 19 at 8:00am. Bring your mat, some water, and your beautiful self! We will join together to practice sun salutation looking over the city at Vulcan Park. The group will complete 108 rounds, but don’t be intimidated by the number! Simply drink in the energy of the practice or practice for as long as is right for YOU and then relax, enjoy the music, view, and community!! Escape day spa will make an appearance and offer free Thai massage, manicures, and free products! You can also treat yourself to a little henna tattoo! Children are always welcome, so bring the whole family! (See the Facebook event here: Global Mala 2015)

After party! Join us for a post Global Mala meal at Asian Rim in the Colonnade, 11:00am – 3:00pm. Who doesn’t love brunch?! They will be donating 20% of the proceeds from all sales between 11:00am and 3:00pm to Sweet Om Alabama. Come and enjoy some post sun-salutation fuel with your best new yogi friends! (See the Facebook event here: Brunch at Asian Rim Benefiting Sweet Om Alabama)

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Annie, from Villager Yoga sporting her beautiful henna tattoo!

Every year our National Yoga Month events support Sweet Om Alabama. A charity organization that supports other charities in the Birmingham area! Sweet Om Alabama shirts are available for a $35 donation and have an awesome design with the Birmingham skyline! I also bought a super soft sweatshirt for a $45 donation! The sweatshirts are gray with a black Sweet Om logo.

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

Sweet Om shirt and a selfie!

I can’t wait to see your smiling face at Global Mala!

Peace,

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The Stuff of life…

I ran into an old friend the other day while taking my dog for a walk. It turns out that she has lived on the same street as me for a year and we never crossed paths. As we were talking and catching up she talked about her life in New York City and how her career in theater made her feel the need to be perfect. She constantly watched what she ate and always felt pressure to have this ideal body image. Although she’s still passionate about theater she faded away from it and decided that she really needed to experience “the stuff of life.” I hugged her and went about my walk and those words stuck in my head… the stuff of life. Do I enjoy the stuff of life? Am I too hard on myself? Am I too strict on my diet? Is eating a cookie (or two) really that bad?

With my wedding 4 months away I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Do I want to look amazing and fit on my wedding day? Of course. Does it matter? Not really. We’re getting married because I love him and he loves me, not because I look hot in a white formal gown. True love goes beyond that. But here’s the hard part… Showing that amount of love to yourself. I have a major inner battle with this. I love myself. I am proud of what I have accomplished and what I stand for as a person. But do I love myself every time I look in a mirror? … That needs some work.

I think we all need to learn to enjoy the STUFF of LIFE. Eat healthy foods, fuel your body, love your body, love your Self. But at the same time, have fun, eat a cookie, laugh, play, and go out with friends. Have a few glasses of wine, treat yourself to dessert (you deserve it) and be happy.

I have decided that to prepare for my wedding I will not restrict my diet any further. I will eat the foods I like (thank goodness I love veggies!), stick to my organic/whole foods/no processed diet, and amp up my workout schedule to what it was before grad-school happened. So far I’m enjoying getting back to my workout routine and feeling better about being active every day.

The STUFF of LIFE. Have your cake and eat it too.

The STUFF of LIFE…

{Have your cake and eat it too}

Have fun. Enjoy the STUFF of LIFE.

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