All posts tagged: breath

When they don’t sleep

I must’ve blocked the challenging parts of this 2-3 age with the Big Kid because I was so focused on Baby Bear Shark. We weren’t sleeping then anyway, but it’s different with a newborn who can be nursed back to sleep. These days, we’re dealing with negotiation, refusal, ignoring requests, being scared of the dark and working themselves into such a tizzy that they can’t catch their breath. The no sleep thing is amplified when both are fighting it. I have no control over how much sleep I get at night. That was a hard pill to swallow, entering into parenthood. I’ve crashed at 8 along with the kids, but sleep is too choppy to feel functional the next day. I’ve been on this up and down cycle of coffee and melatonin to survive. This can’t be healthy. We’ve moved their bedtime up to get ahead of the meltdown (and daylight savings has helped a little on the front end but not so much with staying asleep or sleeping past… gulp… 5:30), and we’ve gotten more rigid about bedtime …

Getting a 4-year-old to calm down

You’ve heard of the Terrible Twos. Well, that was a joke. Kids are still kind of cute at 2 when they throw themselves on the ground to tantrum in public places. Age three. Boy, that was traumatizing. The talking back, the outright defiance. Every little thing can cause a 3-year-old to burst into tears. We’re now dealing with a 4-year-old, and it seems the three-nager attitude has only gotten more complex, more specific about what ails him and the meanest words a kid can say to his parents. “I don’t like you, Mommy. Go away!” Stab me in the heart. Our big kid had a huge growth spurt this summer, and as we do every few months, we move him up to the next shoe size. Whatever growing pains he’s going through lately do NOT like his new shoes at all. We go through this routine every morning when it’s time to leave the house. Make sure sock is on straight and pulled up Pull tongue out to make room for the foot Tuck a finger at the heel …

Tonglen Meditation 101

Last week, I introduced Tonglen Meditation in my yoga classes. It’s a Tibetan Buddhist practice that uses the breath in an act of giving and receiving. I talked about the samskaras I had been facing, and in an effort to really understand and feel compassion for my 3-year-old (rather than lashing out at him when he has a tantrum), I turned to Tonglen and my breath to offer love and kindness toward him. The idea of Tonglen Meditation is to use each inhale to focus on someone or a group of people who are suffering. This someone could even be you. How to: Pema Chodron talks about doing this practice not only for your loved ones. You can use Tonglen to send compassion to other parts of the world, like the Syrian refugees who need kindness and generosity the world over right now. You can even use it on your “enemies” – someone who has hurt you or done wrong to you. Their suffering is coming out in harmful ways, and even though you were a victim …

Getting back to ashtanga

It only took me two months postpartum to roll my mat out at home and get back to my ashtanga practice. I realize I’ve only been okay’ed for exercise for 2 weeks, but the bigger thing that kept me from jumping right in was the simple fact that I’ve lost a lot of strength and stamina. I’m simply not ready to do a 90 minute vigorous practice yet. Um, or 10 sun salutations in a row. Gotta catch my breath! I spent the first month at home in my pj’s all day in survival mode. In this second month, I’ve been trying to stretch and stop feeling super achy from constant nursing and cuddling. So I’ve been to a few postnatal yoga classes the last couple of weeks. These are pretty gentle classes – as they should be. The body holds on to the relaxin hormones after birth, and my abs still have that weird separation that will only get worse with crunches. I’m trying to be mindful of any big movements, so no super wide …

Modeling yogic behavior for baby

At the Austin Area Birthing Center, they not only offer classes to prep for baby (including prenatal yoga), but they also offer classes for AFTER the baby to all of their clients. I’ve been enjoying their Baby Love and Postnatal Yoga classes, which meet once a week. One, the classes give me and Bear Shark reasons to get out of the house and do something together that doesn’t cost extra money (unlike visits to Target, where somehow $50+ disappears every time). Two, he gets to socialize with other babies, and I get to meet other moms with littles. Way more stimulating to him than our ceiling fan, which he stares at no matter where in the room we are. Three, we talk a lot about what’s going on with our babies and what’s happening with our bodies. Collectively, we share tips and experiences, and inevitably, someone has a trick that you haven’t tried before. All the discussion also helps jog memories for me. So many aspects of parenting I had already forgotten. And four, it’s never …

Prenatal Yoga: Horse Lips

I recently finished reading Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth in preparation for baby #2, and frequently, she mentions practicing “horse lips” to relax the pelvic region. It seems like such a silly thing to flap your lips while blowing out air, but when we practiced it in prenatal yoga classes, it really works! The test came when we stood in a wall squat (back to the wall, bent knees and holding in a “seated” position until your thighs are burning), trying to keep our breath calm and letting our legs be strong without tensing everything else. Then, we did the wall squat and practiced horse lips. The searing pain in my thighs and hips went away almost immediately. It’s so simple, yet effective! I’ve heard people practicing tolerance for pain by holding ice cubes in their bare hands and working on breath control. It’s kind of the same deal. Hmm… what if you did horse lips with the ice cube test? When my day starts to get the best of me, I’m making use of …

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