The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood

I remember sitting in my yoga teacher training years ago and learning about the 8 limbs of yoga. I found this approach to living a conscious, mindful existence to be refreshing and grounding. It expanded my idea of what yoga was and exploded the possibilities of how yoga could be a part of my life. I committed to fully exploring each limb and weaving them into my existence.

And then I had a child and everything changed. My time on the mat was reduced to a few minutes a day, maybe even just a few minutes a week. My reading material went from books that enriched my soul, to scouring the internet for quick tips on mothering: What should a breastfeeding mother eat? Will I ever sleep again? Are there any meals I can make in 2 minutes? It was survival mode folks.

But one day I was walking past my dusty shelf of long neglected books. Pablo Coehlo was flagging me down. Irving Stone looked at me with disappointment. Even Jane Austen was taunting me. And then I saw my yoga books and I thought surely I had some time to skim a few pages between diapers and tummy time. I randomly opened to a page that discussed the 8 limbs of yoga, the 8 components to living a meaningful and purposeful life. I recalled my dedication to these limbs in my past life as a non-mom and wondered how they fit into my life as a mother. Surely I still wanted to live a meaningful and purposeful life, perhaps now even more than before.

And so began my quest for the 8 limbs of yoga in motherhood. Yoga changed my life 10 years ago and reshaped the way I viewed myself and the world around me. It has been profound for me in many ways. And surely I would want to carry this into my life as a mother. Being a mother has brought new meaning and purpose to my life, but along with that has come the hardest challenges and deepest struggles. As a mother, if ever there was a time for living a conscious and mindful existence, this is truly it.

So stay tuned in the next few weeks as we take a deep dive into The 8 Limbs of Yoga as they pertain to Motherhood. We’ll take on the Yamas, the Niyamas, Dhyana, even Samadhi and much more. Are these words new to you? If yes, that’s totally ok. Really, it is. I’ll walk you through them. Hopefully this journey will support your motherhood journey, lift you up, shift your perspective, challenge you, inspire you, whatever it is that you need right now as a mom. Or perhaps it won’t. And that’s ok too. But for me, this has provided a framework for motherhood. This has been the bridge between my identity as a yogi and my identity as a mother. It’s been eye-opening, inspiring, grounding. I hope you find a piece of this too.

Stay tuned…

Melissa Kushnaryov, Co-Founder Seed & Song

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana with Baby

Releasing Perfection in the Motherhood Journey

It’s a new year and everything is filled with the promise of a “new you”: a new diet, a new workout regimen, a new commitment, a new routine, a new anything and everything, as if "new" and "better" and "more" is precisely what we need. And as moms we judge ourselves harder than most, because our decisions, our choices spread beyond ourselves and truly impact the little ones in our lives. We hold ourselves to such high standards, we strive for perfection and take on more and more while our plates are already full. Often times we develop an idea of perfection and we reach for it, we reach high. And every day we are faced with so many challenges, and so many chances to overcome these challenges with grace or to be overcome by them. At the end of the day, we may wonder if we moved any closer to that idea of perfection. Did we cover any ground? Will we ever get there?

But where is this idea of perfection coming from? And is anyone really ever achieving it? We live in a world of airbrushing and filters. We see lives portrayed on social media and we think that is life, that is real, that is what we are reaching for. But is it? This world is filled with struggle, and motherhood can be one of the greatest. To step into the identity of a mother and to expect ourselves to walk this journey in perfection, it is perhaps one of the greatest injustices we can do to ourselves.

So release this. Release the idea of perfection. Open up to the mother you are, the mother you are always becoming, and embrace this identity. We can always hope to walk through the journey of motherhood with a little more grace, a little more patience, a little more ease. But we cannot ask ourselves to walk through this journey with perfection. We cannot expect ourselves to match those airbrushed versions of womanhood, those staged and filtered versions of motherhood. The curated images are not the real journey.