Motherhood and the Gifts of Yoga Practice

Dear Joani,

I believe yoga has helped keep me sane and has made me a better mother.

I have a two-year old daughter, and I have just started the process of getting a divorce. It has proven to be a very nasty process, and I’ve been so very saddened by the whole thing. Between that and working full-time and going to school and mothering a child, I honestly felt like I was going to lose my mind a few months ago. I got tension headaches that kept me awake at night. I was just surrounded by this maelstrom of negative energy and stress. I decided that rather than give in to various addictive vices like cigarettes and alcohol (which were both quite tempting), I would instead try something a little healthier. I promised myself that I would do yoga at least three times a week.

I feel infinitely better now that I’ve been coming consistently for three months. I have not had one tension headache since I’ve been practicing regularly, and I feel so much more at peace. Sometimes yoga class is the best “alone time” I get all day, even though I’m in a class full of people. I still have days where I feel like I’m about to crack into a million pieces… but I know that feeling is temporary and I know what I can do to help manage it.

One of the things I have tried to do in class (and this sounds a little silly) is to really focus on being kind to myself. That is the intention I usually set. When I’m taking class, I feel like I am nurturing my body as well as a part of my spirit that desperately needs it right now. I look at myself in the mirror and really try to put aside all the self-criticisms and hard things I tell myself throughout the day. It helps me manage all the difficult things I’m working through right now to be able to put aside all the negative thoughts and to treat myself with grace. Yoga class provides me with the perfect opportunity to practice this.

When I go home to my daughter in the evenings, I am a much more relaxed, loving mother to her. I don’t feel as drained and I have much more patience for all the things that come along with being a mommy to a toddler.

Thank you for creating a studio with such a welcoming, peaceful environment. I can’t tell you how much I have needed it!


Jennifer Shannon