The blissful days with my newborn sometimes felt like I was happily strolling in a tunnel singing as I went, and suddenly I would stop and realize: I am all alone. I would look around with a meek “hello?”… and things started to feel a little… well, less blissful.
Picking up the phone to call a friend could make me feel worse – “I got the baby to take a nap finally!” did not create the kind of victory celebration I felt was deserved.
I loved my Mommy Support Group, my Mom Yoga+Baby classes, and my Mom friends I met in the park weekly. It helped a lot hearing about how others were up every two hours too, and in the quick un-restful sleep in between, they too would dream that the baby was wanting more milk and would wake themselves up.
But even then… who hasn’t been lonely even surrounded by a bunch of people?
Yoga offers a different way to look at isolation: that it is not others we aren’t connecting to, it is actually our own Self. Our Higher Self, the one that is the biggest, oldest, wisest person we can be. And that when we connect to this Higher Self, we get access to a huge network of cellular, cultural, even primal memory, intuition, and support.
We all know the short-hand for this place within ourselves: “the heart.”
But how to find it, amidst diaper changes and feedings and trying to find a moment to shower?
This is where the form of yoga – if you knew it before – must change, and why we yogis decided to create a community simply to address the journey of “Pregnancy, Motherhood & Beyond.” We never go back to the way things were. Our hearts will always be filled with this new being. This means our center shifts, and in some ways, it can become a little murkier in there.
But the yoga can sometimes feel even sweeter, because it is so hard-won. Instead of a daily meditation practice, it’s a rare gift to have 5 minutes at some random time to sit and connect in.
So here is what to do when you do get this gift of time to yourself:
5-Minute Open-to-the-Supported-Self Meditation
Always start with a forward bend.
Then sit on the edge of a blanket, close your eyes, and let your pelvis get heavy with each exhale. With each inhale, expand the space inside from front to back and top to bottom.
The point of this is not to fix anything or change anything, it’s just to turn your awareness inward. Have a notebook nearby for the inevitable to-do’s that will come into your mind. Clear the tasks away from the screen of your mind by writing them on paper as they arise.
After this, thoughts might begin to occur to you that you hadn’t noticed before: “I’m exhausted.” Or surprising: “I can’t believe he said that!” Allow whatever arises to float away. If you feel the need to address the issue, then write it down for later. You are peeling off layers here. Keep going.
You might find little spaces in between thoughts where you find yourself resting. Can you gently keep bringing your awareness back to the spaces in between your thoughts? When we do this, the space naturally expands and you might notice the thoughts are a little slower, quieter, and even more profound.
Notice there is a pleasant feeling as you sit in the expanded space of what we call the heart. You are accessing a wisdom in your cells that has been passed along through the genes of millions of women who have done this before you. Here, you might find yourself feeling part of something bigger, part of the evolution of Consciousness, rather than a separate piece.
You might also accessing moments of the bliss that is a part of who we are, no matter what the situation, what we call anandamaya kosha or the bliss body. Keep bringing your awareness into the spaces between the thoughts as long as you can. You are deeply rejuvenating here.
Around this time, you’ll see a bright light. Just kidding! Instead, you’ll probably hear those cranky sounds of your baby waking up. Allow yourself to stay for a few breaths. Let your baby experience the world without you.
Feel your spacious heart embracing this little being – and everyone else who you love, as they walk through their own sorts of tunnels. When you are ready, bring your palms to your heart and set your intention until next time: May I enjoy living in the space of my heart.
In 5 minutes you’ve shifted how you feel in the world by shifting where you are in your Self. For those days when you’re feeling alone, whether you’re with people or not, 5 minutes a day can make all the difference. Like a little window you can peak through whenever you have a moment, and feel more connected to the world all around.
Try this anywhere – right now! If you are experiencing isolation over a period of time, call a therapist to talk it over and see if you might have the baby blues.