5 Ways to Practice Ahimsa in Motherhood

We recently took a deep dive into the Mama Yamas, which make up the first limb, the foundation of the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood. There are 5 of them, so it was a lot of information to digest. But now that you have the high-level view of the Mama Yamas, we are going to spend the next week focusing on incorporating them into our lives, working them into motherhood one at a time. Because talking (or reading) about guidelines and practices is only part of the process, now it’s time to build these into our days as we move towards a more mindful approach to motherhood.

Beginning with the first Mama Yama, Ahimsa, which means non-harming and non-violence, here are 5 ways to weave this into your day and hopefully, eventually your life.

  1. Harm and violence manifest in many ways in our daily lives, and so often this is directed at ourselves. So often the most painful dialogue takes place within our own minds, directed inwardly. But before we can truly make mindful shifts in life, we first need to be aware of what we are shifting. So this week, be aware. Just be aware. Listen to the words you are speaking to yourself. Hear what it is that you say when you look in the mirror, when you make a mistake, when you feel like you fall short of your expectations. Just listen. Tune in. Be aware.
  2. And this internal dialogue also flows out to those around us. So this week, also be mindful of the words you speak. Be mindful of the intentions behind those words. Be aware of the negativity, the passive aggression, the hurt that likes to creep into our messages. Negativity spreads so quickly, but so does positivity. Spread positivity. Spread love. Begin with your words.
  3. Mothers so often harm themselves, completely unintentionally. In our quest to love those around us, to provide for them any and everything, we often neglect to do the same for ourselves. And this happens over and over, day after day. And then this becomes a habit. And then this becomes the norm. And then our entire self is being poured into those around us and nothing is coming back to fill us up again. Soon the well runs dry. This week, allow yourself to make yourself a priority. Start with something simple. Demand 10 minutes a day to do what you want. Read. Write. Walk. Sit in silence. Fill yourself back up again. Soon this will become a habit. Then it becomes the norm. Then you are filling yourself up, over and over again, and you have so much more to give.
  4. Every time we choose to eat, we are making a decision regarding Ahimsa, but rarely do we even notice it. Every time we buy food at the grocery store or cook dinner, we have an opportunity to practice non-harming. Food is the fuel that we live off of. As mothers, we are often so involved in this decision for our families. What are we eating? What are we feeding them? How is this nourishing us? How is this harming us? Be aware. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but at least begin to be aware of the decisions you are making here. So much of this can become auto pilot, bring awareness back into this. Make these decisions consciously. As you choose food this week, be aware. Notice your habits here. Notice how and why you are making the decisions you are.
  5. Find movement. This body is miraculous. It carries us through our days and provides for us in ways we don’t even notice. But it was made to move. These muscles want to reach and stretch. These joints want to bend. These bones don’t want to sit in stillness for too long. Bring movement back into your life in a way that nourishes your body. And move with your little ones. Let their little bodies stretch and roll and twist and move. If we make this a part of our days and then our lives, it becomes a part of theirs too. This week find 5 minutes each day to move with your little one. Dance to a song, run down the sidewalk, do yoga, play at the park, crawl through the grass. Anything, but do it once a day.

As you begin to weave this into your days, notice any changes, any shifts. Moving away from harm and violence into a life of Ahimsa requires effort. It means we have to shift our routines and change our habits. It means we have to find different ways to view the world and those around us. But it also means that we become a channel of love and peace, and that, after all, is such an important piece of navigating through motherhood consciously and mindfully.

Ahimsa in Motherhood

Seed & Song: Our story

Moms are in demand. Period. Your body is sore. Your mind is scattered. Oh and you are responsible for a new human. Welcome to motherhood. And welcome your new “band of mothers” to help you through it all. Seed & Song is about connecting you to your body, your baby & your breath through music and yoga.

Sharing stories link us together. Stories help reassure us that we are not alone. In fact, your supportive community is waiting. Here is the story of how Seed & Song came to be. Allow me to introduce the wise women behind it all.

Laura Rose Anderson

Laura was born to be a music therapist. She was also born to help others learn to love themselves. It wasn’t until 2012 that her career path expanded to include yoga, sound and meditation for inner healing & self discovery. Both disciplines, music & yoga, blend effortlessly together offering profound tools to cope with daily life. She simply had to share.

Laura Music Therapy

Laura and Vanessa Contopoulos met in the field through their work with children who have special needs. Vanessa is a remarkable healer, mother, founder and director of Amplify Music Therapy and co­founder of a non­profit called the SongStream Project. Pictured below is her sweet Seed & Song baby, Eloise.

Vanessa and Eloise Drum

Through their shared passion of performing original music, Vanessa & Laura formed a band called ‘Red Willow Waltz’ in 2013. Playing music together was a creative outlet they cherished.

Red Willow Waltz

Once Vanessa learned she was pregnant, Laura guided Vanessa through prenatal yoga sessions in preparation for birth day and eventually helped support during childbirth. Since then, It felt like a natural progression when they began writing lullabies and songs for children.

Laura created the first version of classes in January 2015 when Vanessa came to experience yoga & music for the first time. Their dreams of collaborating on this project turned into real conversations and brainstorming sessions. From those conversations it became apparent they needed a strategic savvy mind to help make these dreams a reality.

Enter Melissa Kushnaryov; A beautiful yogi, mom, and marketing extraordinaire. Pictured above is her sweet little boy named Toren, who is now a big brother to his sister, Miela. When Toren was little he would fall asleep in his mother’s arms every Thursday listening to Laura’s Kirtan band. Which also happened to be where Laura and Melissa first met as they bonded over the soothing qualities of music and the affect it had on her son. As soon as Melissa was getting ready to move to Santa Rosa, Vanessa and Laura presented her with Seed & Song.

Melissa_Toren_Yoga_SD

Since joining the Seed & Song family, Melissa has learned how to play Ukulele and trained in the Seed & Song Curriculum all during her second pregnancy and living in Santa Rosa, away from her community in San Diego. Wow.

As mothers, yoga teachers, and music therapists we are honored to pioneer this field of music enhanced mom & baby yoga classes to a growing community of mothers.

Click here to learn more, Share with a friend. Leave your yoga and/or music story in the comments below. We love hearing from you.

GroupUkelele.jpg

 

LINKS:
Read more about Laura's
 music meditation practice and community involvement here: http://www.sitarose.com/

Read more about Vanessa's peace studies and listen to her original music here: http://vanessa­contopulos.bandcamp.com/ 

Read more about Melissa's yoga journey and search for slow living here: http://www.insearchofslow.com/