The theme of the weekend was twofold: yoga & solo parenting. It was Mike's weekend to close so I maxed out on alone time at yoga before he started each shift. Good thing too, since we're facing a bit of a sleep regression with 19-month-old MK. Whereas we could once put her down awake she's now requiring us to either let her scream it out, thereby pushing back her brother's bedtime, or keep her up until she drops. We're at the 20 minute mark now of her screaming "MOMMY" at the top of her lungs, but going in there only gets her more worked up. So I'm waffling between tolerating the heart-rate quickening screaming, or accepting that MK is the queen of this castle and will go to bed whenever she pleases. (The final verdict: I rocked her to sleep after 30 minutes of crying. This whole sleep training thing is a doozie.)
Last night I couldn't take the crying, so opted to introduce MK to the guilty pleasure that is TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. She fell asleep in my arms shortly thereafter.
Yoga though, was the opposite of my screaming child - brain-clearing, heat-rate slowing, muscle-stretching, and calming. I took a 60 minute half yoga / half Pilates class on Saturday and then a 75 min Vinyasa flow class today, complete with lots of sun salutations and planks. I loved every minute of it.
My post yoga glow on Saturday. This morning after yoga a woman told me I had beautiful skin. I thanked her but fear she'd been misled as I had come from church with a full face of makeup on. I skipped church in favor of "yoga church."
I've noticed recently just how much my mood is affected by all exercise, but by yoga in particular. I leave each class feeling completely stretched out and clearheaded. I struggle with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, but work hard to do the things I need to do to feel my best. When I'm anxious, my brain is ALWAYS running. At its best, my anxiety causes me to over-analyze every situation, and at its worst it creates a deep sense of "fight or flight". Yoga quiets all of the noise in my brain (the to-do lists, the tendency to over-analyze, the second guessing and the self-condemnation). It allows me to step outside of myself and slowly pick up each worry, examining it carefully in my hands before placing it gently up on a shelf to be dealt with at a later date. That's not to say exercise brain makes all of my troubles magically disappear; rather, I feel much more equipped to handle whatever life throws my way (you know, like when G yells "Mommy, I kinda sorta peed all over the bathroom" mere minutes after I finished cleaning it. For example).
Yoga is so mind clearing that I find myself wondering if this is how others live all the time. It's how I felt when I first got glasses, or after my nose opening sinus surgery, or when I tried Passion Fruit La Croix for the first time. So this is how others see! Or, I'm supposed to be able to breathe through my nose on a regular basis. And, why have I been wasting my precious pennies on Pamplemousse? (Though in Pamplemousse's defense, it was voted the #1 La Croix flavor by Time Out. My beloved Passion Fruit came in tenth. To each her own.)
So to yoga I will go. Because my anxiety has been at a near lifetime high and that's just no bueno, not acceptable, no thank you sir. In order to get myself to the gym, I penciled in my calendar every yoga class offered next week (including the yoga/Pilates combo and sweat inducing PIYO Live classes). When I schedule something at the beginning of the week I'm much more likely to follow through.
Beyond its physical and emotional benefits, the thing I like best about yoga in this stage of my life is that it's a unique intersection between my body being my own, and my time being my own, if only for the duration of a class. For the last four years I've been pregnant, recovering from birth, breastfeeding, pregnant again, recovering from birth again and breastfeeding again. Then finally, finally my body became my own again. The jury's still out on my time being my own, but yoga helps with the facade.
The reading right before Shavasana today included this Becca Lee quote:
It reminded me that sometimes life can be easy. Sometimes it's worth it to cut yourself some slack, throw sleep training to the wind and rock your sweet baby to sleep before it's too late. Sometimes it's okay to ask more of others than yourself (aka, you're not a bad mom if you demand that your 4 year-old wipe up his own pee on the bathroom floor). And sometimes it's okay to not have any answers for the foreseeable future, but to just keep showing up and bringing it all to the mat.