I had my son when I was 38. Overnight my earnest, long-standing yoga practice flew out the window. I could barely find time to take a shower let alone practice yoga.
I would try to sneak in a few breaths of meditation while breastfeeding, but usually I managed only to nod off in my big squishy recliner. In the first few months of his life I got as far as putting on clean clothes and cooking once in a while – but practicing yoga? That was a memory rapidly evaporating into the akashic plane.
Thankfully parenting gets easier.
Babies grow and eventually I found my way back to my practice. But it was not the same. And I had to figure out how to adapt to this new reality and be happy with less.
When he was about 3, my front brain had come back online enough to figure out a few things – he wanted me with him when he was falling asleep at night and I realized it might be a chance to regularly meditate again. My husband and I would read him stories, play instruments and sing some kirtan and then – lights out – it was the perfect time to meditate while he drifted off. And it was nice to share that contemplative time with my husband.
That was a huge step toward getting my practice back.
Now my son is 15 and he probably wouldn’t approve of my saying this but occasionally, he asks my husband and I to meditate in his room as he’s falling asleep. Aw. . . still my baby.
As for asana practice, when he was little, that was even trickier. He loved to commandeer my practice by climbing up on my back while I was trying to do cobra, locust or bow. It was fun. But also a little frustrating. I started to feel guilty – here I was a yoga teacher and I was having a really hard time finding the time, space, energy and will to practice. Here I was a mom feeling frustrated with my adorable son who just wanted attention. Can’t win for losing!
So one day I made myself a deal.
I decided to do some habit hacking and set the bar really, super, stupidly low – just one pose a day. I could do that.
I could do tree pose while I brushed my teeth. I could do apanasana in bed. I could do yoga mudra while supervising endless Thomas the Train excursions on the living room floor.
As my son grew, mothering got easier – but life didn’t really slow down.
It has a funny way of keeping you on your toes.
So I have carried on with my #oneposeaday mantra, even now.
If I can get myself to do one pose a day, chances are, I will actually do a lot more. My yoga mat sits unrolled, beckoning, all I have to do is lie down on it and commit to one pose. Often, the practice works its own magic and I do a lot more.
I’ve shared my one pose a day plan with lots of my busy students and many say that it works really well for them too.
So I invite you to give it a try. Better yet, post a pic of yourself on FB or Insta with #oneposeaday and tag me! I’d love to see what your practice looks like.
I love that! It’s also a great way for teachers to learn new asanas or better yet, go deeper in a familiar pose.
The same strategy can work in conjunction with accidents or surgeries which change in an instant what a body can do . I found that I always had breath…and my mind always was able to follow yoga Indra or an “as if” practice as I lay still . Fingers alone could open and close with breath.There are times in life when unimaginably small steps can bring unexpected steps back to hope and healing.
Thank you, it’s a wonderful idea to start with one or two poses a day. I use to have a yoga practice and always think of going back to it. Now I’m 75 and would like to start in this way to see what I can do.
Am currently going through a “yoga practice challenge of acceptance and yet renewal opportunity”. Two vocal cord surgeries within five weeks b/c we believe this body rejected the stitches and implants. By the time the Dr. could go back in, take them out, and put in Goretex “nests” he called them (I had successfully lived with one implanted 11 years ago) this body was on Prednisone for so long withdrawal symptoms demanded all the yoga knowledge and positive thinking one could muster. While we wait for the steroid to leave the body and begin testing with immunology Dr. I find myself soaking in the limbs of Dharana, Dhyana, Pratyahara, and pranayama simultaneously particularly with nature outside or in the forest walking on a trail.
Through all this I have found the “yoga of the tongue” and “eyes” to be fruitful. Did you know your tongue can do forward and backward bends allowing you to swallow at the same time with a sore throat? Fun but interesting too…can you draw circles with your tongue independent of your eyes? I had a meditative imagined to anchor the wisdom eye gaze when doing either or both. Try it and let me know what you discover. Of course, more challenging when the immune system is busier than not. Peace.
I love the philosophy of doing ‘just one thing’. I used it when wanting to have a vegetable patch but l didn’t have ….the time or…..the space. Then l saw the title of a book that said ‘grow just one thing’. So l did, and now l have my big vegetable patch several years later. But it all started with the philosophy of ‘just one thing’.
This. Is. Gold!!!. So true about being a Mom or Dad…the little time you feel you get. Yoga can fall by the way side. I too have found refuge in working with my daughter, rather than what felt like I was rushing her to bed just so I could get some me time, some yoga time. Now I drop down into downward dog beside her bed & let her into this world. I LOVE the 1 pose a day. So achievable!! Thank you for sharing this! So important!! x
I resonate with you. had first daughter at 38 and at that time I wasnt doing yoga but went to the gym, body balance and out the window it went. Even now with a 12 and 15 yr old and being a yoga teacher it can be a struggle but one pose a day or one breath (well a few more than one) sounds like a plan.
What a great concept. You can always sneak in one pose. I work a full time job while teaching several nights a week. To maintain my own practice, I can do tree pose while standing at the copy machine, or pigeon on the floor before bed. Thank you for this idea and providing us with the permission to let go of what a practice “should” be
I love the idea of one pose a day. A friend once told me “I try to get on my mat every day”. I loved that and have used that as well. Same principle, once on the mat you can get on a roll (pun intended). Thanks!
Thank you for this. I have a head injury and not being able to work, live or practice like I used to is really difficult to accept. I have learnt to set the bar low. This was a great reminder that that is ok.
This is especially true foe me when traveling. I get so tired of sitting and a Down Dog or side bend really feels good. A Mini vinyasa combining a couple movements repeated a couple times is often the perfect remedy to jet lag or excess walking/sightseeing. Great reminder that the practice maybe 5minutes to reset.
Thank you so much! This is exactly what I needed to hear at exactly the right time. As a student of yoga teacher training (a year in), my practise has waned over the summer holidays, due to the hectic schedule of my young son (6!) and really.. Im not getting any younger! Energy is lower than usual. Back to school and life is still hectic and Im not feeling great as not getting much yoga in. I will try this and let you know how I go on. This feels do-able for me at the moment. The teacher training is “busy” …perhaps taking one pose a day might help me settle into and re-establish a more regular pattern and will help me feel less (hopefully no) guilt. Thanks Kristine x
Can totally relate. Had my third child at 42 with two older children, one that was a busy teenager. I would use my time breastfeeding my daughter to practice pranayama and be present. We were also dairy farming at the time and during calving season life was very busy. My go-to yoga posture was legs up the wall pose. That one posture got me through.
This is brilliant! Sometimes the hardest part of change is committing to it and giving yourself permission to start with just one step and to be ok with that. Namaste!