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I recently began practicing yoga again. But not the hippies-in-a-hazy-room yoga of my wayward university days. This is a structured and guided study of forehead to knee and ujjayi pranayama in a 100 degree room. My twice a week class is the first time since my son was born that I’ve had any sort of ‘extracurricular’ activities away from home. And while I still believe childbirth to be my body’s greatest accomplishment, I am still amazed each time my eyes find the back wall in Ardha Chandrasana.
Despite my absence from the mat, I found my body to have still maintained the flexibility of my youth (and by youth I mean, my pre-mommy days). I study daily, reading and practicing asanas, and can feel myself becoming more balanced each day. I thought it would take much longer to regain my strength after four years away from the mat, but just a few weeks back into it, while holding Virabhadrasana III in class, I heard my instructor say, “Beautiful, Melissa. Relaxed forehead, easy breathing. You look like you could hold this pose forever.” And I felt like I could.
Moments later, while lying in Shavasana, I realized why it was so easy for me to get back into yoga. It was because I had never stopped practicing at all.
I’ve spent the past four years learning to control and soften my breath at the risk of waking a sleeping baby with even a deep exhale. I’ve learned how to relax my facial expression even though inside I’m gagging. You barely even ate, now there’s vomit EVERYWHERE. I have truly accepted that nothing is permanent. Not sharpie marker on the walls, stickers on the furniture, or the dreaded “I don’t like you, Mommy” phase. But most notably, I have mastered the ability to balance with heels up, knees bent, and arms out wide enough to comfort a crying child.
I call it Mommy Asana and it’s the most beneficial posture there is.