I Nama-stopped: Failure To Find My Zen
Before the twins were born I spent a lot of days at the yoga studio trying clear my mind, center my universe and lose those final ten pounds. I gotta say, I got pretty damn good at those tree poses, cobras and warrior positions. I relished in the ninety minutes of “me time” that yoga provided me and I was even learning to still my ever racing mind, something I never dreamed I could do.
Then I got preggers with identical twins and went on hiatus from yoga and activity in general. At about twenty weeks pregnant I exchanged my chair poses for couch surfing and shifted my focus from stretching and meditation to incubating and survival. The girls were born at thirty-six week, a glorious accomplishment by identical twin standards. Those early days weren’t pretty, but we all made it through. I recovered fairly quickly, surprisingly much faster than I did with the first two kids and started the slow climb back to strength and fitness. I walked, I jogged and by one year postpartum I was running three miles a day on the treadmill. I looked better than I had ever looked since the kids started coming and thought it was high time to return to sweaty Sun Salutations.
I tried to channel my inner Yogi, but I just couldn’t locate her. She had apparantly flown the coup along with my dreams of sleep and size two jeans. Accepting my defeat I returned to the treadmill and life went on at warp speed. I kept my jogging and breastfeeding up and the compliments just kept on flowing.
“I can’t believe how amazing you look after twins!”
“No way do you have four kids!”
“You gave birth a year ago! Holy buckets!”
I’m not sure, but I think new moms can actually live on compliments such as these. The twins turned two and I stopped breastfeeding like a boss and started spending more time at the computer. It didn’t take long for fit and trim to dissolve into rolls and jelly. Was I obese? Nope. I was not even overweight, certainly not by American standards. Regardless, I sure didn’t feel like a hot mama. I tried to up my treadmill lobbing but my body wasn’t having it. I’m pretty sure that one random Tuesday evening I heard my treadmill whisper, “Been there, done that. Welcome to middle age. Try harder.”
Then a few months ago my girlfriend and I decided to give spin class a whirl. I loved it. I craved it and was hooked. Finally I was addicted to something healthy! Crazy me started getting up at 4:30 in the morning to pedal as fast as I could to Pitbull and the Chainsmokers. A month into my newfound hobby I tried my hand at yoga again.
A few days a week the local Yoga studio I go to offers a mixed class: thirty minutes of spin and thirty minutes of hot, sweaty yoga. The first few classes were grueling, and that is probably a gross understatement. The room was hot and I was already sticky and sweaty from the spin session. Within about five minutes I wanted to quit. You can’t quit hot yoga though. Once you take your shoes off and step onto your mat you had better Nama-stay-the-hell-in-there for the duration of the session. It’s daunting and even though the instructor always tells you to do what you are comfortable with and stop if you need to, you never really feel like you can. I downward facing-dogged-down my aches and pains and focused on my balance, which has been crap since the girls were born. Sweat dripped down my nose and fingertips and my muscles screamed and strained as I desperately tried not to slip and slide around on my mat during planks.
But I made it through…and I came back again…and again and again. My body feels stronger and the anxieties I previously harbored, mostly regarding post baby balance issues and vertigo, are subsiding. I continue to struggle with clearing my mind, but I think that is (ironically) the most difficult part for many. No matter how many times I envision clear skies, sandy beaches and freaking fields of lavender, sports schedules, homework assignments and the day’s to-do list seem to creep on in.
So I still have some work to do before I find my way back to zen, but the foundation is laid and I think I’ll get there so long as I keep coming back and trying to find a small slice of zen. This time I am determined to Nama-stay-healthy and strong!