[Mother’s Day Feature] How my Yoga practice has evolved with motherhood – By Karen Tan
2 May 2019, Thursday
A special write-up by Real Yoga member, Karen Tan
10 years on…
Conversations with Master Saumik: How my Yoga practice has evolved with motherhood
Like what every parent you meet down the street will tell you – welcome to sleepless nights; This is just the beginning!
Indeed, parenthood revolutionised the old patterns I used to settle into, and provoked deep confrontations of my usual habits and intentions – whether my words or actions are oriented towards myself only or towards the needs of my child and family as a team. Three years ago, I knew my life would change when my child arrived. I thought I was ready to embrace all changes… Until I realised how much motherhood would change my Yoga practice. Motherhood has changed the way I practice tremendously, and here are the 3 ways it has made me a better self, better yogi.
1. I LEARNT TO CREATE SPACE
We often hear of this cue in Yoga classes, “breathe deeply, creating space within”. Prior to motherhood, these words didn’t sink in deep in me.
During the initial months of motherhood, I often found myself being stressed out to the extent that I unknowingly turned on savage mode. I was easily irritable, and I was the least friendly person anyone could tolerate.
I had allowed my physical and mental space to be overwhelmed by high self-expectations of a new mum. I was off the track.
Amidst the chaos, my Yoga practice reminded me to create space in my mind, like how we practice Pranayamas, how we mindfully take every breath and how we mindfully move and ease into any Yoga asana. I am learning that the only way to truly release any frustrations is to take calmer breaths, to create space for a kinder practice, a peaceful self.
2. I LEARNED TO ACCEPT HELP
I always remembered when I first started Yoga, I was prideful, and I strongly advocated that I did not require any Yoga props at all.
Every time when my teacher handed me a Yoga block or a strap, I’d rolled my eyes and secretly put aside the props handed to me.
Over the years of practice, Yoga has tamed the devil ego in me, and I appreciate experiencing every moment of the practice instead of trying to achieve perfection. These days, I love props! I love anything that can make the Yoga practice accessible and enjoyable.
Motherhood hit upon me the same way as I figured out my Yoga practice. It started out rough. I did not accept help at all because I thought I could do everything until I felt I was falling apart on the inside! I learn to accept help – babysitting, play dates etc. Learning to accept help makes this whole motherhood journey so much more enjoyable because I can be present and authentic to my child.
3. I LEARNED TO EMBRACE CHANGES
Some days I looked back – I yearned for the “past life” when I could easily attend at least 8 classes on a weekly basis, chasing the practice of asanas. During those days, attending classes were my top priority.
As I embarked on motherhood, I realised that having a kid around household is a true blessing, but a fixed routine no longer exists or rather is a luxury.
As soon as I managed to figure out my child’s routines, they started changing again. I had to learn to go with the flow with an open mind, embrace any change that is to come.
I found my practice changing on an almost-daily basis. I arrived on my mat observing what I needed on that day of practice. As this practice transformed off the mat, I learned to observe the changes and needs of my growing child. This is a lot more peaceful than trying to fight against changes.
Three years into motherhood has taught me so much more about myself than any phase of my life. Every stage is different and in the same way, my Yoga practice evolves with new realizations and experience. Yoga practice constantly keeps me grounded – mentally and physically, on and off the mat.
To all strong mummies: you don’t have to give up your Yoga practice because this journey is constantly evolving, unravelling the real Yoga path within each of us. Be the best you can be to your child and parent them each day with intention and presence. Happy Mother’s Day to every strong and empowered mum!
About Karen Tan
I’m Karen Tan – a Yoga practitioner since 2003, a mother of 1, Yoga and Pilates teacher.
I first met Master Saumik at Real Yoga in 2009. After 2 years of practicing with him and with much encouragement from him, I signed up for the 2nd batch of YTTC with Master in 2011.
Signing up for this YTCC was a decision that I’m forever thankful I made it and I’m grateful to be able to be under the tutelage of Master Saumik and his wonderful team. It unravelled so much of what I did not know, so much of what there is to learn about Yoga! Through my first YTTC with Real Yoga, I grew more acquainted with myself and my practice by being about to connect the missing dots of all my questions about the traditions of Yoga and the other modalities of yogic studies. Cultivating the ability to understanding traditional studies and infusing this practice into our modern world of Yoga is something that I’m always working on, refining experiences that I’ve gathered. And this learning journey is never ending. I remembered Master once said “A YTTC certificate is not the end of anyone’s Yoga learning journey, it is just the beginning.”