Mindfulness While Being a Momma

Katrina and boys
They were so tiny! But a good size for twins. 5 lbs 10 oz and 6 lbs 3 oz, delivered at full term!

I’m always fascinated by how my yoga practice has changed to meet the varying needs of my life.

For instance, there was a time when I did two hour yoga practices. Sometimes six hours if I was at a training.

Now I sneak a 10 or 20 minute practice in each day, and feel great about it. My meditations are done while breastfeeding, or as I’m falling asleep. I practice deep breathing and Mountain Pose (Tadasana) while pottying babies. I do a forward bend and shoulder stretch before late-night and early morning feedings—it helps me wake up and not be so uncomfortable as I’m bending over a nursing pillow tandem feeding my hungry boys!

I’m not sure I ever pictured myself the mother of twins. I’m still blown away by the fact that I have two sons!

I love it, though. I feel incredibly blessed. Sure, it’s pretty intense when they both melt down at the same time, but that doesn’t happen very often. For the most part my boys are happy, and I’m totally in love with them.

While I was pregnant, I had to change my physical yoga practice to one that created more stability in my pelvis and core. I couldn’t do lunges, and had to stick to all symmetrical postures, or my pubic synthesis felt unstable. I basically did 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the evening, and a few squats in between. I was so big, by the end of it, that just rolling over in bed was a monumental task. Yet yoga helped me keep it all in perspective, finding gratitude even in the discomfort.

Ryan Phoenix (left), and Zachary Skye
Ryan Phoenix (left), and Zachary Skye

I had a natural hospital birth, which apparently is pretty rare for twins, and birthed both of my sons basically on my hands and knees. More knees and elbows, since the hospital bed was tilted up in the back, and I had my hands around my husband’s in a death grip. Sorry ’bout that babe.

Labour was intense, incredibly painful, and totally worth it. I was glad that I had years of practice utilizing my breath, so I didn’t really have to think about it while giving birth. I’m also glad I got two at once and don’t necessarily need to do that again. Heh.

Afterwards, it was about recovery. Every muscle in my body was so sore that, for the first few days, it was very difficult to breathe when I stood up. My internal organs had shifted so much for the twins, and my diaphragm and intercostal muscles were in a state of exhausted shock from all the breathing (and yelling) of labour.

Even Riley the dog is in love with them.
Even Riley the dog is in love with them.

But I improved day by day, as I continue to do now. Because my belly grew so big, the abdominal muscles are still trying to find their way back, and it’s been three months.

That said, it feels so good to be able to do plank, to do a few forward facing lunges and transition to Warrior III, to hike up-hill with the dog while a friend watches the boys and even run a little. It’s satisfying to feel strong in my body, to take small steps towards handstand, to stretch more deeply than I have in a year.

Now, so much of my mindfulness practice is finding balance between taking care of my babies and taking care of myself.

Yes, my life is totally focused on my two sons, and yet I’m also continuing to write the novel I began while pregnant, making sure I eat well, and taking care of my three furry babies (which means two walks with the dog every day!)

With Casey, my partner, away at work two weeks at a time, I have a lot of time to just focus on my family and my home. I do have some help, for which I’m super grateful (as is Riley, because we get to go for really fun walks together), and yet the majority of the time I feel totally capable juggling it all myself.

Jasmine. Happy to hang out on my shoulder. Purring.
Tree pose is my favourite these days. And, no, this isn’t a recent picture. That’s Jasmine purring on my shoulder – one of my furry babies.
Anytime I do feel overwhelmed, I just take a deep breath.

And if it all feels like too much, I remember the thing that got me through pregnancy and labour: this too shall pass. I know they’ll grow up so fast, and I’m trying to be as present as possible to cherish every moment.

People have asked me if I have any plans to return to teaching. The answer is, not really. I’m rather unpredictable, so that could change, but I’m glad I wrote my book, produced my CD, and did the online yoga videos before having my boys.

That’s my yoga legacy, if you will, and it’s always humbling and wonderful to hear when people tell me that they’re benefiting from my teaching through the book or enjoying the album.

For now, I’m enjoying simply being present with my family, and continuing to nurture my creativity through my writing.

So many people have told me that having children is the best and hardest thing they’ve ever done. So far that’s true for me, and I’m incredibly grateful to have my yoga practice for support, helping me be mindful each breath of the way.