Yoga Practice: A Prudent Investment of Time
I often feel like I’m living in a time warp. It seems like just yesterday I was awaiting the birth of my first child and all of the sudden she is driving herself to school. In the blink of an eye, I started teaching yoga, had two more children, and here I am with over a decade of experience as Blossom Program Manager under my belt. Committing eight months to the Dharma Path Advanced Studies (DPAS) program seemed like taking a huge chunk of time out of my life and now just a few weeks away from our closing circle, it seems like it wasn’t that much time at all. I feel like I wake up every morning and all of the sudden I’m back in bed again. And yet, I do remember those never ending days of childhood. I’m reminded of them every time one of my kiddos complains of boredom. My mom once said that time just seems to go faster the older you get. So far I have to strongly agree, which scares me a bit- I’m not sure I can handle things going any faster!
I can fully understand how challenging it can be, particularly in the busyness of Silicon Valley, to race the clock in a valiant attempt to accomplish all of the things we are “supposed to” do. But what do we gain from all of this rushing? Are we able to be fully present in the moment? Does it bring joy?
At this stage in my life, I have a huge load of responsibilities. Nevertheless, I’ve learned to be okay with not getting Everything done. Every tomorrow provides another chance. And sometimes those tomorrows spread out into weeks, months….and so here I am, finally getting back to blogging after two plus months since my last post. In that time, I completed my DPAS Practicum project, spent much needed time with my kids over their spring break, and started preparing for our next Lotus Blossom Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, the 100-hour mentorship program I offer with my colleague Hillary, which starts June 1. I accomplished ENOUGH. Too much, maybe. I practice mindfulness every. single. day. I reflect on what is truly important to me and use that to prioritize. Still, I rush around a little more than what is comfortable. (Life is a work in progress, isn’t it?)
The concept of “stealing time” is something we have discussed at length in DPAS, specifically in regards to starting and ending classes on time. When classes run significantly over the time students expect it to end, teachers are stealing their students’ time. I have to admit, this is something I am working on. My classes are one of my highest priorities, and it’s a rare occasion that I am not at the studio at least 15 minutes before my classes start. However, it’s not a rare occasion to have many students trickling in the first 20 minutes, or even later! That makes it quite the challenge to start on time (and then end on time)! I honor the unpredictability of life, the challenge to “get everything done,” and of course, all of the changes that pregnancy brings- it can take time to adjust to the slowing down of the pregnant body, especially when everything else in the world is moving so quickly. Still, I find it ironic that moms are rushing to make it to class, squeezing in a practice that at its heart is about building moment to moment awareness to “move into stillness” in the words of Yoga Master, Erich Schiffmann.
I worry that some of my students may be missing the point and therefore the benefits of yoga. I wonder what I can do to support all of my students to not just prioritize their practice, but really prioritize themselves by committing to their practice! The check-in is not an optional time- it’s the opportunity to build community and for me to understand what my students’ needs are and tailor the practice accordingly. If I understand what my students are feeling each class, I can serve them better. Sivasana, our restorative pose at the end of the practice, is not optional either. In any yoga practice, it’s considered the most important pose. The physical postures are about creating an awareness of breath and body in order to move into the final resting meditation. And what pregnant mom doesn’t need rest!?
In a world that is moving so quickly, it’s more important than ever to savor each and every moment. If you are struggling with time management- to get to class or in any other area of your life- I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on what is important to you and set boundaries around your needs. Moms deserve to get the most out of their practice- the people who depend on them (especially baby!) benefit, too. The quality of life improves immensely when we are able to take a deep breath, think critically about what matters most, and prioritize those things. There are even studies that prove meditation creates more efficiency at work. Taking the time for yoga practice is a great return investment of time!