Off the Mat: Finding the Time to Get Grounded

Around Here Somewhere

Believing it best to start honestly, I have a confession to make: I’ve lost my daily yoga practice. I know it’s around here somewhere. In fact, I’ve used it a few times recently. But then I misplace it again. It’s somewhere under the pile of magazines I want to sort before recycling; the outgrown toys I think might bring in a bit extra on Craigslist; the clean now-too-little big boy underpants that need a new home. (Can you donate underpants or is that too “eew?”)

Haven’t unrolled the mat in a while? Breathe. Stretch. Set the intention.

I miss it. I’ve had it for years! Each morning, I’d drag myself out of bed, pee, then go to my mat. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes just 10. Sometimes I’d fall back asleep there for a bit. Regardless, the act of breathing, stretching, connecting within – the intention to start my day on the mat – changed my day off the mat.

Don’t get me wrong. I then went on to drink my coffee, was often late to work, and didn’t necessarily greet my fellow commuters with enlightened bliss. But I felt better physically. Was more grounded. More clear headed.

So where did it go?

Truthfully, it hasn’t been around since week 5 of pregnancy when mornings switched to wake up, pee, eat something immediately so I don’t puke. The nausea passed, but I didn’t get back on the mat every day.

Then came wake, pee, nurse the screeching pterodactyl in the bassinet. One friend told me she’d stay up after the last overnight feeding, relishing a quiet hour to herself at 4 a.m. “Great idea” thinks my higher self. “Yea, right” says my body, curling up with my nursing baby for another slug of sleep.

Before long, the pterodactyl would stand in his crib and call “Mama peese!” until I came in. Once awake, he’d often sing for 10-20 min and then perhaps “read” for even longer if he found the books I’d tucked alongside the mattress.

Sometimes, I’d wake to pleading cries for urgent crib extraction.

Even now, with crib turned to big boy bed, the need for Mama in the morning is equally pressing. The preschool dance of independence and attention-seeking displays of helplessness means he needs a witness to put on socks.

Set the alarm earlier. Practice at night instead. For a while it worked to practice as naptime began. Naptime is now a hazy memory.

The days of the predictable schedule are gone. Nothing fits as neatly anymore! You can set your alarm but other alarms go off that are not set. Where to find the time? The time is there but it’s otherwise occupied.

I realized I’m waiting for a set pattern around which to plan my practice. And that comes – when? When he starts school? Moves off to college? Enrolls in Albanian Military Academy at age 11 – our imagined solution for how to approach the teen years? Maybe I need to rethink this.

I did the New Year’s Resolution thang this year. Signed up for an online 21 day yoga video challenge. Exactly what I needed to re-establish daily practice. And I did it, most days, anyway. And enjoyed it. It became worth it to get out of bed early enough to finish the sequence – and hey, maybe even shower! – before being summoned. I even continued for another week on my own, I’m puffed up proud to say. Then we went out of town. And came home to 3+ weeks of sickness rolling through the house. And then. And then. And I’ve lost my daily practice again.

So I’m away for a weekend workshop with my yoga teacher, a big part of which is to reset my intention to practice daily once I get home. Saturday morning dawns with the realization, why wait ‘til home?

Juggling the desires for coffee, breakfast, clean hair, I almost forego today’s practice. After all, I’m doing yoga all day.

Instead. Roll out my mat as much as will fit on my friend’s living room floor. Breathe. Stretch. Set the intention.

And feel calmer, more physically comfortable, more grounded because I began my day on the mat.

OK, so I did go pee first.

Photo credit: Werner Moser and photosteve101 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ginny Hamilton

Ginny is a yoga instructor, Reiki practitioner, gardener, activist, and middle aged Mama. She has put down roots in South Amherst with her spouse and young son. Daily she’s amazed by the beauty the Pioneer Valley offers, though her allergies beg to differ. She believes our natural state is to be balanced in body and mind so spirit can flow freely. Because modern life gets in the way, she offers self-healing bodywork to unravel imbalances and restore energy flow. In Off the Mat, Ginny explores how yoga’s physical and mindfulness exercises help her parent and how parenting shapes her yoga practice.

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