On Being a True Yoga Mom
The term ‘yoga mom’ conjures up images of this elite middle-aged woman in tight designer yoga pants, toting her expensive yoga mat and driving her fancy SUV, who engages in fancy vegan lunches and sips smoothies with fruits that you can’t even pronounce. And the reason we know all of this is thanks to her updated Instagram feed, of course.
The reason this bothers a ‘regular’ yoga mom like me is that a) this does NOT represent the majority of the yoga mom population, and b) this is complete FALSE advertisement for women who are trying to find their true self through yoga.
When my son was born six years ago, my self image went through a huge overhaul, as it usually does with first time moms. I struggled with all kinds of expectations and reality checks, but the one thing that kept me grounded was going to my mat. Yes, I was frustrated with the weight gain and other changes my body went through, including my ability to not do some of my favorite poses. There were times when I wept silently during savasana, wondering if I could ever fix my outer and inner image. But with each class, each session, I felt more grounded, more connected with my new image, however ‘non-perfect’ it may seem to others. I tried to find the image that was perfect for me. Yes, I was still wearing my maternity pants to do yoga during the first year, and my hair was probably stuck in the same ponytail for six months, but I soon realized, it was all temporary. I was shedding older layers, and embracing new ones.
Once I made peace with outer appearances (I eventually lost the baby weight and still do not own a pair of ass-hugging Lululemon yoga pants!) I focused on the inner workings. You have heard most yoga teachers talk about leaving your ego outside the room…well, nothing puts it into practice than raising your child. It is SO NOT about you anymore, nor is it about making the child the center of your universe. It is about finding that balance between being true to your needs, and those of your child. As you connect with your new self, each moment on the mat will bring new awareness about your abilities and limitations, and that is OK. You are not a superhero, you are human. For instance, I made peace with the fact that I may not be the mom that shines at preschool events or throws the coolest birthday parties, but I am definitely the mom that stays focused and centered when schedules are thrown off and tantrums are widespread.
Whether you are a new mom, old mom, young mom, chances are you are trying to find your center of peace when you make the trip to your yoga mat. Motherhood is beautiful and demanding all at once and you need a place to listen to your own thoughts. A place where nobody is calling your attention to clean ups and chores. All you are cleansing is your breath and soul. You spend a lot of time researching best mommy practices, and making to-do lists, but getting on the mat should be the one time you are not thinking of anything to do! It is not easy, and as a yoga teacher and a mother, I am guilty of it too, but lets all try to remind ourselves of why we made the time to get to yoga in the first place.
Forget trying to fit in with what the yoga corporates display as the perfect moms with their green juices and perfectly toned abs. If you can pull off that, more power to you! But that is not what yoga and motherhood are all about. Being a true Yoga Mom is less about displaying a cool street cred, and more about actually being a positive and credible person. It is about finding your center of balance and knowing what works for your well being and that of your family. You don’t need the latest designer pants to do that…taking a deep breath is all it takes.
Guest post by,
Shivangi Parikh (Yoga Teacher/ Owner, Shivam Creations)