A lot has changed in the past year. I got married. I got pregnant. And I’ve gone from teaching 7+ yoga classes per week to one day of teaching. Right now, I’m teaching three classes, two public and one private, on Thursdays and that’s it. On Thursdays, my focus shifts away from my other job (at a small publishing company) and my other responsibilities, and settles on myself and how I can best show up. How can I best show up for the families that come to me to share yoga with their little littles (18 months – 3 years old, usually), and what I can offer of my own experience to the women who find their way to my prenatal yoga classes on their journey to becoming mothers? Usually showing up, for me, means being present and able to connect. Sometimes it means having a solid plan for what I’m going to do, but more often it means letting go of attachment to any plans I may have had and listening to what my students really need on that particular day.
That’s where I was on Thursday, and turns out that’s where I needed to be. Most of my mamas, whom I’ve been working with for over half of their pregnancy in some cases, are getting closer and closer to meeting their babies. This means weightier babies, which means more physical concerns to address. It also means they are bumping up against the big decisions that pregnancy brings in a much more immediate way. Figuring out how to tend to one’s own needs at the end of a pregnancy can be a challenge; we often put the needs of others before our own, and it isn’t always easy to let that go and put ourselves (and our babies) first. With all of the looming change in my students’ lives, I think what they really needed was for someone to be present, listen, and, when appropriate, respond. Just showing up as fully as I possibly could seemed much more appropriate than any scripted theme or class plan I could have put together.
So we focused on coming back to the breath even when there are pressing matters that deserve our attention. Interestingly, in my experience, being able to settle in to the moment and stay with the breath doesn’t mean that the things we want to be thinking about don’t matter; rather, it is a valuable tool in helping us make sense of the forces that are pulling us in different directions. It is often in the silence that the solution can be found. It is often in the space in between our thoughts that we can really recognize our instincts and intuition. If we can connect to that, those big decisions become a little more clear, a little less muddy. Not any less complicated, but at least a little bit less confusing because we have some sense of where we, at our center, want to go. Where we need to go. This is why I teach yoga, and this is why I choose to teach yoga to populations facing transition and deep personal growth (pregnant women, new moms, toddlers and preschoolers, middle schoolers and high schoolers…). So Thursday was worth shelving my other commitments and projects for. Well worth it.
I’m participating in the August Break this year, so I’ve been taking a lot of pictures. I’m using it as an opportunity to reconnect to creativity— photography and writing, primarily— and disconnect from TV and mindless surfing of the web. The August Break was created by Susannah Conway a few years back to give bloggers a break from blogging, but I haven’t been present here in so long, it feels like a good time to step back from what’s been distracting me and reconnect to who and where I want to be. A writer. A maker.
Thursday’s prompt was “today is…”. The only picture I took was of a cookie with a bite out of it.
But that’s okay because I needed to set aside my preoccupation with capturing moments to be able to show up completely. So I ran with it a bit more yesterday. It was a day of weaving in loose ends. Sorting through all of the maternity clothes I’ve been gifted lately.
Catching up on work at my “other job.” Tidying up a bit. Writing. Photo-ing. Making the effort to find extra little moments to revel in this journey.
It wasn’t picture perfect, but who cares? My life has never been picture perfect. I value experience and connection over image and stuff, and there was connection in my day, too– an evening of Happy Hour and patio sitting with the husband. I was perfectly happy with my virgin drink, chowing down on half-priced chicken wings. It felt like we were able to carve through some of the mess, both literal and mental, that accumulates throughout the week and make space for ourselves to just be. Share. Explore. Wander. Enjoy. And Love Love Love.