Keep Calm and Carry On, Warrior Mom

Photo credit: Yvette Jain

Photo credit: Yvette Jain

"Keep calm and carry on, warrior mom" is what I would say to myself, 4 years ago.

I had no clue I was pregnant in this photo. I only knew that I kept passing out in the back of the car as my yogi friends & I drove to town. John made fun of me saying maybe I was pregnant but nah, I was just "exhausted and dizzy from the flight, I swear". Still I wondered - why did I keep rolling over my ankles in Warrior III?

That very night, two shooting stars swept across the clear sky of Sedona, Arizona and I made a wish upon each. (Cheesy, but true.) The first manifested 9 months later, and I named that star Arjun. The second wish came true almost 2 years after that, and I named that star Aarav.
Grounding down has not been easy at times when the environment and circumstances around me are unstable and uncertain, nor has it been simple when my ideals, beliefs, expectations are being tested. Life has really asked me to dig deeper.

Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional roller coaster that is motherhood.
The exhaustion. The joys.
The tantrums. The sweet, innocent love.
The breakdowns. The breakthroughs.
The body & mind changing over and over again because of the hormones...need I say more?
The sweet smell & soft skin of a newborn.
PUPPP- the full-body rash from hell that made me sick, taking prednisone for over a month. The probability of getting it once is 1/200 pregnancies; I got it twice. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
The funniest things kids say and do to make everything alright.
The NYC school admissions process that at times brings me to Child's pose with my hands in Anjali mudra.
The community of moms who support each other, lift each other, who lend an ear, a hand, an extra diaper, and who together drink many, many, many cups of strong coffee (or even stronger glasses of wine). We are all in it together. 
Did I mention the toddler tantrums? Just making sure I did. 
The big, BIG hugs, and 35 kisses the boys give me at night just before bed. I count and cherish each and every one.

Staying centered is also challenging some times. I remember one morning just 6 months ago. Arjun & Aarav woke up crying - the baby needed to be fed the bottle and at the same time the toddler needed emotional support to go to potty by himself. Both needed me, equally. The two little boys who would pull me apart, literally, with Arjun on one arm and Aarav on the other, in opposite directions.  I wish I could be like the dancing Shiva with 8 arms, so not only could I have calmly & gracefully attended to my boys but also open the front door to receive some packages from Diapers.com, too. Wow, I'd be super productive! I might even get through all the laundry, cooking, errands, tidying, and shower. Oh and eat. Not my kids leftovers. But a real meal. Sitting down. In peace. That's important. (Thank goodness I have some help most days!)

If I could go back to the day this photo was taken and give my younger, more rested self some advice, it would be this: Every day, practice Warrior II. Practice being calm so that you are calm when toddlers are being extra, extra... toddler. Practice being strong, centered, and grounded within so you have that energy to give to them even when they are testing you. Breathe so you can teach them to breathe and calm themselves. Meditate - even if just for a couple of minutes - so you can be still and find the very things you need more of in yourself - patience, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. These are by far, the hardest things to teach, for you must teach by example. We are all human, no mom is perfect, and no parenting is perfect. As Van Gogh said, "What is done in love is done well."

Oh, and one more thing, practice Child's pose for humility because you don't know what you don't know and Savasana because you will need every bit of rest you can get.

So take a deep breath and carry on, warrior. Be the eye of the storm around you. You may even see a rainbow after it passes.


How do I get into Warrior 2?  

1.    Stand in Tadasana, at the front of your mat.

2.    Step your left foot back as far as you can comfortably do so and angle your left toes so they face forward at about a 45 degree angle. Plant your heel, big toe mound and pinky toe mound down so you can keep the slight arch along the inside of your left foot.

3.    Bend your right knee to 90 degree angle as much as you can, and stack your right knee over your right ankle.

4.    Open your hips. The feet should be in the same plane in all the traditional standing poses - warrior 1, warrior 2, extended side angle, triangle, etc. Here are some possibilities, depending on your anatomy & practice: the front foot heel could bisect the back foot arch, the front foot heel and back foot heel could align in a 90 degree angle (heels in one line), the front and back heels could be apart (width-wise) an inch or two. It really depends on your practice, but whatever you choose, it should be consistent for all standing poses, and you should feel a sense of center.

5.    Stack your head over your heart, and your heart over your hips.

6.    Extend both of your arms out, with the right arm reaching forward and the left arm reaching back, with equal effort.

7.    Draw your navel in, engaging in uddiyana bandha, and set your gaze just beyond your right middle finger.

8.    Using ujayyi breathing, breathe in and out of your nose with equal force and counting.  

9.    Carefully notice that your hips are level and parallel to the floor, that your ribs are neutral not puffed out, and that your face is relaxed.

10.    After 5 breaths, extend your right knee, and step your left foot forward back to Tadasana pose, standing at the front of your mat.  

11.    Repeat process on the left side.