My passion for meditation came way before motherhood, or even way before I knew what meditation was, or even before I knew I wanted to be a Mom. But that’s another story altogether.
When I became a Mom-to-be, it became so much more valuable (if that can be said about meditation), or maybe I should say it became more desperately urgent.
It began during my pregnancy. There I was with a new life growing inside of me, with my body transforming in a way that I could never imagine (although “knowing” a lot about), my life changing drastically and a lot more questions about motherhood, far more questions, than answers.
It was really a very particular moment, and for me, very lonely as well, although not quite, since I was present with the baby all the time.
On top of this sea of emotions and thoughts and distractions and concerns that I created myself, there were the emotions and thoughts and concerns and distractions of other people around me and the “nest creating” craziness: the never-ending nursery buying list (don’t get me started on this one), the house move, the family’s anxieties and concerns, the birth plan, my partner’s own issues.
It was just a crazy mess. And meditation was then in my pregnancy, as it is now in parenting, both my rescue and the lens through which the “right” answer reveals itself. Not that there is a right answer, but one that came with clarity, from the true essence of being (rather than a choice based on fear, or vanity, or over attachment, or anxiety, or mere rationality – to name a few).
In pregnancy, meditation helped me breathe, remember myself, remember that it was ok, I was still there as an integral person – nurturing another life on my body, yes – but still an integral, whole person. Then I was able to decide, to forget about the crazy things, to instead focus my efforts on what made sense to me and the baby, as we prepared for his arrival into this world. It allowed me to bring more serenity into the moment. Even if that meant that in any given day I would just take time to do absolutely nothing, and just be.
As the baby arrived and we got into a new level of craze. There was this beautiful intense interaction with the baby that is something huge in itself, and then there were baby books, parenting lines ( today it’s almost like you have to “buy” one from a shelf just like you do with a soap brand), milestones, clothes, supplies, help, exhaustion, feelings of being overwhelmed, isolation, breastfeeding (or not, until when, in public or not, etc)… Not to mention the effects of friends and family lovingly giving their opinions that are different from yours. It’s an ongoing list.
I can’t say enough about how much meditation brings my life to balance, and in parenting, even more than that, it brings my family to a more balanced place. With the daily practice, I get more in touch with my essence, without labels, parenting clubs, or any kind of social status – it’s just me, period. Only then can I see my child for his essence, and only then can I make decisions about our lives with more clarity.
The way I just wrote this, it seems simple, but it’s really not. Motherhood and the practice of yoga and meditation have together brought me to a complete new awareness of humanity, and of myself, in a way that is really hard to put in words.
A Simple Meditation
Having said all that, below is an easy meditation technique that can be done without much effort:
- Find a comfortable seat, legs crossed, seat on a pillow or a rolled towel, or on a chair if that’s more comfortable (or in the toilet seat if you found some minutes of alone bathroom time – mothers???). Hands rest on your knees with palms facing up or down, see what feels more appealing to you right now
- Close your eyes and find a straight spine from the inside out, pretend as if a cord was pulling your spine from the top of your head towards the ceiling, creating space between your vertebrae
- Place one of your hands under the opposite armpit, and rest the arm against your body. Now cross the other arm on top and place the other hand on the other armpit. Observe your breath, your mind, and what the technique does to you. After 2 or 3 minutes, change the positioning of the arms by removing the arm that was on top of the other, to under it. Stay for another 2 or 3 minutes here and bring your hands to your knees again – this technique presses against main nerves and energetic channels (nadis) that help balance the activity of the hemispheres of the brain
- Now observe your breath, as if you were an observer of yourself completely immersed on your breath. An unattached perception, but complete absorption on one unique thing: your breath
- Do this observation for as long as it feels natural to you, until you reach a point where you might feel inclined to naturally let go of the exercise and just be on the present moment
- If any thoughts come through your mind you can use the mantra “Om”, mentally chanting it as if it was a gong in the middle of your brain, bringing you back to yourself
- When you’re ready to come back, bring your palms together in front of the heart, inhale and then exhale chanting a long “AUM”, and visualizing that this energy that you just came in contact with is brought back into your body and your life, represented by a line of energy descending from the crown of the head to the base of the spine (as you “AUM”)
For more re-grounding, meaning, to be back to real life more promptly, stand with your back against a wall (touching but leaving a little space between wall and lower back, protecting it’s natural curve), and step your feet a little forward bending your knees, as if you were sitting on an imaginary chair. Do it in a way that you work your legs and squeeze them together. Lift your toes and put them down a few times. Breathe a few times here, and you’re ready to go. If you feel any anxiety at all, or restless mind, doing this meditation, bring your right thumb and index finger together like a little clasp, and place them into the center of your chest
To know more about the benefits of meditation for life and health, here is a story from the renowned Yoga Journal (but if you google it there are many many reliable sources and studies nowadays).
Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. Peace, Love and Meditation make the World go Around.
Patricia Borelli is a yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher, who thinks a whole lot and loves to write, as a way to help understand, and live, life.
She currently learns and teaches at Hosh Yoga (Brooklyn) where she hosts a donation based prenatal class Fridays at 5PM, among other classes.
She is also at Ishta Yoga (Manhattan).
Both facilities are located in New York City.