The third limb of yoga in the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood is Asana, or as we’ll call it here: Ahhhsana. This is the part of yoga that many of us know well; it’s often times what brought us to the mat in the first place. It’s the movement, the postures. It’s the opening and the closing, the expansion and the contraction of the body. And we call it the Ahhhsana because it should feel like that word sounds. It should nourish and rejuvenate and replenish and restore.
Motherhood is so demanding and so much is required of our bodies. We grow a human life, we expand to make room for that life to develop and mature, and then we bring that life into this world. We endure long days, sleepless nights and late night feedings. Then we find the strength to get up and do it all again the next day and the next. We pick babies up and put them down and pick them up and put them down. Then we pick them up again. We hold our little beings on our hips with one hand while we make dinner with the other hand. We open the stove with our foot and close the fridge with our shoulder. Our bodies become off balanced and stressed. We develop carpal tunnel syndrome and our posture goes downhill.
And during all of this, we often times put our own needs last. We focus so intently on our darling babies, our babies who almost always need something from us, and we put our own needs on hold. It’s so easy to say that we are being selfless in doing this, but are we? Is it really best for our families if our health declines? If we do not make ourselves a priority and take care of our physical bodies, we will one day find that we have less to give and share with those we love.
So welcome Ahhhsana into motherhood. Find time each day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, to reach up high and bend down low, to twist your spine and extend your limbs. Open your heart and expand your ribcage. There is so much healing that happens when we connect with these postures and move through our Ahhhsanas.
Many mothers have so little time, and committing to a yoga practice can feel like a scary step to take. Make it small. Roll your mat out and keep it rolled out for an entire week. When you pass it, step onto it and hold one posture, just one. See how it feels. Touch your toes or hold a Warrior pose. See how it feels. And the next time you pass that mat, do it again. Come up into Cobra or balance into Tree pose. See how it feels. Maybe commit to one simple flow, perhaps a series of 5 postures. And bring your little one onto the mat with you. Let them crawl under you in downward facing dog and climb up your legs in chair pose. Make it fun and playful, and make it feel good. Enjoy your Ahhhsana.
Motherhood is hard and it takes a toll on our bodies. We are doing a disservice to everyone in our lives if we do not take the time to nourish, rejuvenate, replenish and restore these amazing bodies. So take the time, commit to a posture and then maybe another. Roll your mat out. This, mama, this is the first step.