On this Mother’s Day, we honor all the mothers, grandmothers, mother figures, Mama Bears, Mr. Moms, Mother Earth…
…We honor all those who pour their life energy into raising children, pets, plants, or ideas.
“Mother Energy” is all about love, unconditional love, nurturing, and birthing, but not necessarily only about children.
Yoga plays a role here, in how we pour our energy into things. We asked our teachers: Are there poses or teachings from yoga that reflect the concept of motherhood or the idea of “mother energy?” Are any of the things you learned from your mother figure actually yogic concepts?
Ashley West Roberts
Ashley’s favorite pose these days:
“Is there a pose that more accurately describes the feeling of being a mama….
I don’t think so!”
“My mom teaches me constantly, but one thing I’m still working on is having that energy of what we might call “tapas” in yoga, which is equal to the fire element or discipline. As a more laid back Cancerian, who loves to surf and enjoy lots of beach time, my mom is the opposite, a fiery Sagittarian who has a a natural drive to push through any challenges. She leads me by example when it comes to finding my “tapas.” I’m grateful for all the blessings she showered onto me through her selflessness and love, despite having a single mother, I never felt like I lacked anything.”
“Since my son could crawl, I’ve loved watching him crawl on my mat and play with my props while I practice. Small slices of yoga woven into the day was essential for my wellbeing as a new mom and a sneaky way of making yoga a part of his life. He loved to ride on my back in lunges, crawl under my down dogs and topple down my boat poses. Now, at 2.5, his favorite pose is tree, and he still loves to slide under my back for bridge, making me hold the pose far longer than I would otherwise.
Yoga poses are fun and goofy with my son, but the breath of yoga is my greatest yogic parenting tool. When I focus on breath, the world slows down and I’m able to be more calm and collected. The inherent wisdom within us all tends to be MIA when your child refuses to eat dinner or steals a toy from another kid, but the breath helps to bring it back. Just as my son likes to copy my down dogs and tree poses, he also instinctively copies my breath. When we’re having a “moment” the first thing I do is breathe, and encourage him to do the same. Once the breath is slowed down, there is more oxygen moving into that little noggin, and we can handle the matter at hand a little more mindfully and relaxed.”
“I became a mother in 2005, at the age of 35. Once I had a kid of my own, I noticed an immediate softening in relation to things such as students coming in late, falling away from their practice, or moving into Savasana early!
My whole outlook shifted when i realized that the people who came to my classes were people who lived in the world of jobs and children. For them, the yoga studio was a refuge and a sanctuary–a space in which they could connect to themselves in a deeper and quieter way. Prior to being a mom, I approached yoga with a certain asceticism, and with a strong focus on the outer manifestation of a pose. I’m grateful for the ways that motherhood has worn down this particular aspect of my younger yogi self, and helped me find more grace and compassion for myself and my students in the process.”
“The main philosophical concept I learned from my mother that relates to the yogic teachings is about perfection. This relates to one of the ancient yogic teachings from the Rig Veda, Purna – meaning full, complete, not lacking anything, content.
When I asked my mom how this concept affected how she related with me she said, “The main thing was that I view our relationship as perfect and viewed my parenting as right. It is really easy for parents to doubt that they are being the best they can be, especially when their children are doing things they don’t want them to do or are harmful.”
I can only imagine how the world would be different if every mother felt this way about herself and her children.”