You’ve probably heard the saying, when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
I learned all about exactly how true that saying is after my second child, Teddy, was born 2 years ago.
Pre-kids, I practiced yoga for nearly 15 years, attending a couple classes weekly and completing an intensive, year-long yoga teacher training at OM yoga in New York City. When I had my daughter, I managed to transition to a pretty regular home practice and made it to class most Sunday afternoons. But after my son followed, I really got thrown for a loop. Convinced that I couldn’t do one extra thing that didn’t involve keeping the kids alive, clothed, fed, rested, and provided for, I quit all forms of mind-body practice cold turkey. And that’s when things really went off the rails.
I started relying on a nightly glass of wine (or three) to take the edge off. I got really snappy with my husband. My baby weight stopped coming off. And perhaps worst of all, I felt like I was just living for bedtime. I didn’t have any kind of vision for myself or what I wanted to do other than what to make for dinner. Honestly, it was a really yucky place to be, and everyone in my family felt the consequences of it.
After a few months of floundering, I started getting creative about my practice. Sure, I couldn’t get to class on a regular basis, but I found I could start weaving yoga and meditation into my life. I started meditating each night while I nursed the baby to sleep (a little weird, at first, but it quickly became the highlight of my day — and not just because the baby was going to sleep). I started sweeping mindfully, really feeling my feet on the floor, listening to the swish of the bristles, watching the pile of crumbs amass without judging our messiness. And I rolled a yoga mat out in our closet so that every time I got dressed, I’d be inspired to do a downdog. And to my amazement and supreme delight, I learned that small practices done regularly add up to big benefits: reduced stress, better mood, improved communication, more reflection, more peace.
I love that the yoga world gives so much support to women making the transition to motherhood. Prenatal classes, postnatal classes, baby & me classes — they’re all great ways to connect to your body as it goes through such wild changes. But once your kids are moving around or you have more than one, you’re basically on your own. What mom of young children has 2 hours to herself on any given day (most classes are 90 minutes, then you need to get there and home and change clothes)? I asked my yoga friends what they did when they had kids, and they all said something to the effect of, “Oh, I didn’t practice for about 7 years.” It made me angry that I felt abandoned by the structured yoga world just when I needed the steadying effects of practice the most.
That frustration is what gave me the cojones to walk away from a mostly-fulfilling career as a freelance journalist and launch a coaching practice — to help women in the trenches of motherhood find ways to slow down, breathe deep, and hear their gut on a regular basis. I work with women one-on-one over the phone to help them access and trust their own inner wisdom via a very personalized mind-body practice.
I am also so proud and excited to announce my first one-day retreat. On Friday, September 28th from 9 am — 4:30 pm at the lovely and bucolic Five Bridge Inn in Rehoboth, Mass., 12 women and I will do a magical mix of yoga, meditation, coaching, and stillness. My intention for everyone attending the retreat is to clean out their emotional closets, see what habits or thoughts are holding them back, and create plenty of space in their mind, body, and spirit for something world-rocking to take root.
I know how slim the odds are of being able to take a full weekend away from the family to head up to Kripalu — I wanted to bring the experience of 3 days spent away from the real world to Moms here in the Providence area, and offer a distilled version of a longer retreat in one mind-blowing day. There are still a few spots left, and I’m offering Kidoinfo readers 20% off.
If you’ve been feeling like you’ve gotten off track and are ready to stop waiting for some magical time in the future when you have more time to focus on yourself, join us. You’ll leave unable to remember exactly why you were so stressed out when you showed up that morning, and empowered to keep the good juju we’ll create going once you’re back home.
To learn more and sign up, visit http://www.katesyogaplayhouse.com. Â (Remember to use the code KIDOINFO for 20% off!)
Kate Hanley is a mind-body coach, a yoga teacher, and author of The Anywhere, Anytime Chill Guide. She’s also the mom of two young kids, and thus knows every excuse in the book to avoid doing the things that keep you happy, healthy, and sane. She and her family live on the East Side.