Thursday, May 5, 2011

Motherhood: A Yoga Reading List

Is it an avocado? Or a peach? Or a baby?
The first book I received when I was pregnant with Lily: "What to Expect When You are Expecting."

"What to Expect" is the maternal equivalent of Bride's magazine. Holding that book in my hands on the train or in a waiting room, was like shouting: "I am fertile! I am not just a little fat! I am not bloated from too much salt! I am allowed to shop at Maternity stores for pants with panels!"

It makes you legit.

It also made me crazy. It gave me panic attacks, nightmares of things like miscarriage, Placenta Previa, Club Feet, Preeclampsia (okay, so I had PE, twice, but paranoia did not help anything) and it made ask my sweet suffering OB: "Is the baby a size of an avocado? Is it? Is it?"

Then your baby comes. And there are a million, a MILLION parenting, motherhood, babyhood, toddler hood and life books out there (that you don't have time to read).  Maybe even more like a TRILLION MILLION MILLION (as Lily would say). There are books that guide you on how to specifically raise "Your quiet child," "Your energetic child," Your inner child." Books that scare, bully and add guilt. Books with no content and just series of unrelated inspirational quotes. Books with sage advice carefully hidden in humor.  I've read them all.

In yoga, we talk about union (yoga does translate to mean "to yoke" or "to unite"). Motherhood is the ultimate union. It begins with a union of cells and then merges into a union of Momma and Child. It is yoga. Breath (even if you find you only breathe when you have to yell) synchronized with movement (seriously why can't my children sit still, even for a minute?) that eventually leads us to a place that is holy. A place of pure, never ending, wasteful loving.

Here is my official Yoga Reading List for Moms, read in good health, but don't read too much (skimming is totally permissible). Our kids grow up in the blink of an eye.

1. Mom-to-Mom Blog
Linda Anderson is my girl. She takes the Bible, even the scary parts, and applies it all to Motherhood.  For me, Linda has made the Bible my go to book in times of crisis. She focuses on legacy building--how we pass our faith (and I think no matter your faith, the principles apply) to our children. It is good stuff. Read her blog (which also includes a reading list). And find a Mom-to-Mom study group.  Women can be wonderful in groups.

2. An Innocent, a Broad
Written by Ann Leary (wife to Dennis Leary), this book is hilarious and heart warming. I picked it up because Lily was a preemie and I was searching for something that did not contain medical advice and mentions of complications. Read it. No matter how old or young your child is, preemie or full term. The message: we don't get to pick how or where we become mothers. We just have to roll with it.

3. Enlightened Motherhood
Jessica Berger Gross, author and weekly Yoga Journal blogger, gets it.  Her column covers everything from practicing yoga to taking me time to being a mother, while juggling a husband, career and budget. If you love her blog, pick up her book (which is how I first found her) "EnLightened: How I lost 40 pounds with a yoga mat, fresh pineapples and a Beagle Pointer." It is a fabulous anti-weight loss, get healthy memoir--perfect to help you appreciate your beautiful body for what it is: beautiful/

4. Yoga for Women
I had the extreme honor and pleasure of studying children's yoga with Shakta Kaur Khalsa. Shakta practically glides into a room and makes everything that seems arduous, simple. Her book "Yoga for Women," covers it all--pregnancy through menopause and everything in between. The book is a simple reminder that YOU are important. And the poses and yoga kriyas are positively yummy.

5. The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents
This way more than just a book of random musings and quotes. It is real advice. It is profound. Buy and keep it in a safe for the moments when you consider running away to China. My favorite:

"Go for a slow and mindful walk.
Show them every little thing that catches your eye.
Notice every little thing that catches theirs.
Don't look for lessons or seek to teach great things. 
Just notice.
The lesson will teach itself."

It is that simple. The book for Motherhood: the one you are writing right now, with each breath and each movement. 
 

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