I want to consider the natural Yogic quality of motherhood as it pertains to the Yamas and Niyamas. Yamas being the moral observances; our guiding principles for how we deal with others. Niyamas being our personal observances; the principles of how we deal with ourselves. It's intriguing to stop and take a look at how many of these qualities are a natural outpouring of the postnatal period, and how we can use our yoga practice, especially postnatal classes, to enhance the first year of mothering.
The Yamas: Part One
Ahimsa - Nonviolence: How can we be more kind to ourselves? Build patience with our children? Partners? And most importantly let go of perfectionism.
We must start by taking care of "us" and providing the self-love to heal and create peacefulness in ourselves. This is done by providing time during our busy days for meaningful activities such as meditation, journal writing, and postnatal practices. When we constantly allow ourselves to be consumed by the stress and anxiety that parenting brings, we bring that into our relationships with our children and spouses. Creating, finding, and providing ourselves with "me time" during the day/week, allows us to channel our energies into a positive place where we can practice, meditate and exercise our minds and bodies. For after we center and refocus personally, can we address the paint and permanent marker smeared across the living room walls. And find breath and patience during the 4th, 5th, 6th time the baby wakes at night. Our commitment to time for personal healing, recovery, strengthening and mental focus allows us to communicate and share with our partners as well. After a night of little to no sleep and a full day of excessive toddler energies and rousing tantrums, it can be easy to start in on your partner the moment they walk in the door. Some private space and time can be the key to mental clarity and a new-found excitement when revisiting the day's chaotic events. Most importantly it is time to put down the how-to, help books and unplug from the myriad of Facebook mom groups, to allow yourself a candid look at how your children are thriving - because of you and your good work. No it/you will never be perfect, but in that knowledge comes compassion, acceptance and love for the difficult and selfless job of motherhood. Being able to understand and walk next to your child during emotional upsets, looking into your partners eyes and having them know how best to support you, and finishing your bedtime routine by spending a few moments in front of the mirror praising yourself and all your efforts - I believe that is ahimsa, that is motherhood!
“Ahimsa means not to injure any creature by thought, word or deed.
True ahimsa should mean a complete freedom from ill- will and anger and hate and an overflowing love for all.
Ahimsa is the attribute of the soul and therefore to be practiced by everybody in all the affairs of life.” ~Mahatma Gandhi