I have to admit, "letting go" is not one of my strengths. I tend to hold on to hurt feelings, relationships that are no longer good for me, belongings I no longer need - I even managed to store extra water in my body during my pregnancy.
These days, my daughter and I are the point of every parent-child relationship, where it is time for the dreaded first few drop offs at preschool. Although the school and teachers do their very best to make the process as easy and gentle for both children and parents, it still feels like a very big step for everyone involved and therefore quite intense - on a daily basis.
First of all, there is an unfamiliar physical separation happening as I need to leave my daughter with the teachers I hardly know. That means trusting my daughter's ability to be on her own while being in someone else's care and to settle disagreements with other kids on her own, being only two and a half Obviously there are so many thoughts and worries in my head - "what if she is sad?.... what if she feels I left her behind?.... what if she misses us too much but can't vocalize it yet?...." and these worries leave me truly emotional. I can honestly say that before becoming her mother, I never felt such a big responsibility in my life. She clearly comes first, only then I can think about myself and take care of my own needs. This is a change in every woman's life once becoming a mother. It's not a conscious choice, but how I'm wired ever since my daughter came into my life. In a way, it is limiting and exhausting as you never seem to have enough time for yourself, your partner, duties, hobbies, social life, etc. But in a way, it is also liberating, as your whole life is no longer just about yourself. There is simply less time for drama, unnecessary thoughts, false friendships, etc. There is no need to fill up your days with lots of activities, people, things to do, as there is hardly enough time to think clearly, eat slowly, take a shower, or even just breathe when there are still little.
And this is when your yoga practice, or any kind of mindful practice comes into play, more than ever before. Just a few minutes on your mat with deep breathing, maybe some stretching and ideally some meditation can make a huge difference in your day. It can help you to clear the slate - "like a magic chalkboard eraser", how my teacher David Life used to describe the use of chanting OM. We ALL need that from time to time, whether we are parents or not, whether we have a busy job or not, whether we are sick or healthy. Some moments of STILLNESS, PEACE and SPACE to simply BE and not do anything. No mobile phone, no duties, no obligations, no others - just being and being with yourself. I know from my own experience that it's not always easy to be alone with yourself as we are so conditioned to be busy, productive, active, outgoing- it's actually considered normal to live and get lost in our outer world. Following that rush, we just need some time and "tricks" until we can let go and fully immerse ourselves in yoga practice or any other act of mindfulness. Some days that seems like in unbelievable tall order, but the more regular your practice becomes, the easier it will be for you to ease into it. At first, they key is to pick something that comes very easy to you and start with that. Maybe it's some simple stretching for you right after you wake up, maybe it's a few minutes of deep breathing when you go for a walk, maybe it's a hot bath where you close your eyes for a few minutes and simply focus on your natural breath, maybe it's a guided meditation for you online, maybe it's a yoga class for you at your favorite studio. Play with different scenarios of a daily moment dedicated to your inner life, your breath, your pulse, and notice what kind of practice works best for you and your current life circumstances Once you feel drawn to one habit more than another, stick with it. I promise: Y ou will feel the positive effects soon after, and others around you will profit too - including your children. There is nothing to lose, just go for it.