Finding a Regular Practice in Summer
School's out for summer - yea!
Or rather - boo.
Summer means no school which means I've got the kids 24/7.
Don't get me wrong, like every good mommy I love my kids AND they are also very good at demanding every single moment of my time:
"Mom! I need to make a loom band!"
"Mom! I'm hungry!" (you just ate)
"Mom! Can you help me wipe my, etc ...?!"
This conflicts with everything I'd like to do:
An Ashtanga practice (takes an hour and 1/2)
A meditation practice (takes an hour)
A yin practice (takes however long you've got!)
So, like all working relationships a compromise needs to be made.
As my children are ages 3 and 5 in their waking hours they get me and my attention -- as much as I can give when I'm not otherwise cooking, cleaning or doing mounds of laundry.
If I want an undisturbed yoga practice then I need to do it when the kids are asleep. 5.30am starts are good when I can manage it but sometimes I'm just too tired..lazy...tired...
If I want to grab bits and pieces of a yoga practice during the day sometimes I involve the kids. We'll do a down dog together, do some acro-yoga postures or I'll seize an opportunity to sit up straighter, bring awareness to my breath, stand with my weight on both feet.
I try not to be too hard on myself if I don't do some sort of practice each day. Like my Ashtanga yoga teacher John Scott said to me, "Raising kids is the real yoga." I know I must not let myself slip into comparing my current practice to what it was before I had kids or into a fantasy of what it could be if I didn't have kids. The point is to be present (as much as I can) and accepting of the practice I make time for and just go baby step (no pun intended) by baby step towards something daily. My first and beloved teacher Baba Hari Dass says, "No one can please everyone. Your mental peace is more important. If you are in peace then others around you will feel peace. So your best effort should be to work on yourself."
A daily practice - no matter how small - is the best thing I can do for my kids. Sometimes they come down early in the morning and sit (bang!) on my lap during my meditation or ask me to read them a story while I'm struggling into some attempt at supta kurmasana. Nevertheless, I know if I can stay calm in these moments which try my patience then they will see the benefits of my practice. And on mornings when I haven't been disturbed during practice then I feel more genuine when I greet them with a smile and a hug in their first waking moments of the day. If I can be dedicated to a regular practice then perhaps they will see through example that it pays to stick with something and maybe they see that something is yoga and maybe they see that yoga brings peace.