When my 3 month-old daughter fussed during Mom & Baby Yoga class this week and the mom on the mat next to me smiled in support, I knew it was worth all the effort of getting there.
I almost hadn’t made it to class that day. The scene at home in the hour beforehand was the typical new mom war zone: I’d been keeping her fussiness at bay all morning and as I was getting her into the carrier she spit up all over me, but at this point I just consider spit-up another accessory. Then she turned on her baby A-game when an inconveniently-timed but urgently-needed diaper change meant I’d be arriving 5 minutes late to class. In all the chaos a part of me rationalized that maybe I should just try for a home practice and get her (or both of us?) a nap. But realistically I knew staying home would just mean the same level of fussiness for her, no yoga for me, and some distracted email checking that would leave me feeling physically and emotionally drained.
You don’t need to have a fussy baby at home to relate to how difficult it can be to get to class.
In many ways your computer or smartphone can be every bit as demanding as a newborn.
That blast of spam that fills up your inbox and clutters your mind is a spit-up surprise on your favorite shirt as you’re getting ready to walk out the door. The huge project with a deadline of yesterday is the diaper that demands to be changed NOW, or else. And, oh look, here comes yet another hilarious joke forward from Dad! It’s embarrassing, it’s inappropriate……there’s no newborn equivalent for that one – it’s just plain fun times.
I used to feel silly scheduling yoga classes into my calendar, but I’ve found it really helps me prioritize self-care when the demands of either my newborn or my virtual life threaten to take over.
What’s the alternative? If these babies and emails had their way, we’d never leave the house. We’d sit at home covered in spit-up or bathing in the glow of a computer screen. Neither babies nor emails have a great sense of timing, and they don’t tend to cooperate just because you sort of want to go to yoga class.
You have to have conviction, you have to promise yourself that you can and will make time to do something good for your mind, body, and heart.
“It’s time to go to class,” I firmly tell my baby (and my computer). “I need yoga today.” I may be going slightly crazy, but somehow this helps. I believe myself when I hear how determined I sound.
After almost 20 years of practicing, I can say this with certainty: I always feel better after going to yoga class. Always.
It’s incredibly life-affirming to be in a room with a bunch of people who are moving and breathing and doing something good for themselves (with, I might add, not a smart phone in sight….what a pleasant novelty!). It’s humanizing to gather together for the purpose of taking good care.
Email never stops and newborns never stop, so I often second-guess myself when something threatens to derail the plan. But I’ve come to expect this now.
“Just go,” I tell myself. “Just show up. That’s all you have to do, and you’ll feel better.”
At this week’s Mom & Baby Yoga class, my daughter needed to be held for a good portion of the class, so I warriored and triangled with her in my arms. Yoga isn’t a magic cure for baby fussiness or the mommy blahs, but there is something magical about the experience of being led through a practice by a thoughtful, nurturing teacher. It’s a rare thing – a low-tech group experience that is intimately personal, a collective practice of connecting to the self, a chance to listen and breathe and get quiet.
As class began to wind down and we were preparing to settle into savasana, I couldn’t stop smiling at the other moms and babies in class. My baby girl and I shared a sweet few moments of rest together before the teacher brought class to a close. I looked around the room and felt proud. We all did it: we made it to class, despite dozens of potential obstacles, and we were part of this beautiful group experience that we created together, in the moment.
After class I scooped up my daughter and props and belongings, thanked my teacher, and headed for the door. I felt better, as expected. Much better. And by the time I got home and the demands of my baby and my emails started up again, they somehow felt a little less demanding.