How yoga helped me be the best parent I can be. By Siri Arti
I have been a parent for 18 years, and a yogi for 30. My relationship with yoga has always been on and off, thankfully more on than off. I can adopt a healthy daily practice for years on end, and then suddenly life takes a detour, and I find myself literally forgetting that I even own a yoga mat. My relationship to parenting is different; there is no on and off, instead it’s 100% full on and full time. What I’ve noticed on my parenting journey is that yoga is always there for me. When there is no physical anchor tethering me to the ground, there is always a yoga class, a home practice or simply an attitude of gratitude attached to the knowledge of what one single breath can achieve. My relationship between parenting and yoga has been one filled with lessons of abundance, acceptance, surrender and love.
First there was the accuracy of Iyengar yoga to help my body repair after a near fatal car crash; then came the gentle nature of Hatha yoga in Germany when life took on strange ways. I discovered the joy of Kundalini yoga for children, followed by the depth and breadth of Kundalini yoga for adults, which helped me lift the veil and see the truth of my life. I tentatively gave up a harder practice to surrender to the softness of pregnancy yoga when I wasn’t even sure I was ready to become a mother. And then suddenly I had two children, and a failing marriage, and my weekly yoga class offered me a brief escape from life’s responsibilities. Later, I entered the world of yoga for the special child, which showed me a universe I had never seen before. Seeking and searching for a golden life, I deepened my study of Kundalini yoga and dived deeper into an ocean of the unknown. During this time, I was also exploring my role as a conscious parent. I awoke to myself, to my children, and to the world. The only constant on the journey was my yoga practice, sometimes on, sometimes off, but never absent.
Separation and depression arrived. I somehow managed to maintain a practice, and kept teaching (fake it ‘til you make it, they say). Life got challenging, I made changes and kept breathing. And when I could no longer sustain my spirit, I followed a trail to Bali and immersed myself into a month long elemental yoga therapy training. During this time, I reconnected to my body, and my purpose, and fell in love with life again. Returning to my children, restored and more connected to the natural world, I continued life’s journey with gratitude as my daily practice.
My children grew into delightful creative teenagers, and I grew into the mother I’d always wanted to be. And still I breathed and moved, worked and prayed. I learned to follow the flow, working hard while still being present with my family. I witnessed immense darkness, and also the brightest of lights. And still I moved, and breathed and prayed f or wellness. Life took a darker path, and the movement stopped again. Stagnation came. I stopped breathing so deeply and from this tunnel of discomfort and shame, I found an ancient fury rising inside of me. I screamed at the universe in my full lioness roar, demanding to be told what to do next. And fr om an almost out of r each pl ace, I hear d a whisper that said…’your answer lies on your mat - find your strength again.’ I lifted my head and my heart and obeyed.
Today, my teenagers and I move graciously (and sometimes not so) through waves of hormonal fluctuations. Did nature intend women to hit menopause at the same time their children were doing the crazy wild river dance of change? I find myself in moments of sheer wildness, untethered and fearlessly pursuing newness while at the same time, holding anchor for my bucking wild stallion of a son and my crazy artistic daughter. These moments take me to a quiet place where I root my feet into the earth, moving into a high squat, I raise my arms up into the goddess pose and I breathe and burn and burn and breathe, until every cell in my body vibrates with the knowing that I am made of magic and power and life goes on.
To survive this powerful ride, I have returned to a strong daily yoga practice at a studio in town. The teachers are young, and strong, with their focus on strength and conditioning, toning and core stability and most classes find me trying hard not to cry out from exertion. Even though my face may be resisting strain, inside I have a wide open heart and a smile as big and as bright as the moon, as I move through yet another vinyasa, focusing hard on my breath and holding a direct gaze to a spot on the floor. Only I know how clever I am and in my silence, I keep that secret. In the space of stillness at the end of another challenging class, I give thanks for all the types of yoga I have explored in my life, and how they have served me perfectly. I cannot even for a moment imagine my life as a parent without my yoga journey. I look forward to so much more adventure to come, with the strength to embrace it, mentally, spiritually and physically of course.
What I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that yoga has played the star role in me becoming the best parent I can be. Yoga brings constant self-transformation and running a children’s yoga business alongside parenting my own beautiful children has been a perfect combination. May we all continue to be seekers of truth, wisdom and joy, and may all of our children bear the fruits of our commitment to this journey.
What i’ve noticed on my parenting journey is that yoga is always there for me. When there is no physical anchor tethering me to the ground, there is
always a yoga class, a home practice or simply an attitude of gratitude attached to the knowledge of what one single breath can achieve.”
Siri Arti is a proud mother and an inspiring yoga teacher trainer. Founder of Starchild Yoga and creator of her new project, Young & Wise: and education revolution for teenagers, inspired by yoga and the natural world. She runs trainings and workshops in various countries, and will be launching Young & Wise in 2020. To find out more or to follow her blog visit: starchildyoga.com