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Motherhood on an Inhale

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As a working mother of two schoolchildren, there is very little time to become a recluse. In fact in the last 10 years, nearly all my spiritual practices -- and all my hope of enlightenment in this lifetime -- have gone out the window. After years of serious New Year's resolutions about increasing my meditation practice, journal writing and introducing long periods of silence, now I just hope to be kind.

Like most urban mothers, as I've juggled breastfeeding with housework, school drop-offs with work schedules, and sneaked snatches of meditation in between the endearing questions that endlessly pop out of my son's mouth, I have yearned for a sense of balance.

I love my life now, just as it is: messy, busy, over-scheduled and full of family. I wouldn't have it any other way. So it is amongst this chaotic journey that I must search for peace and balance. Luckily over the last 28 years yoga has been an ongoing companion. It has been there during college, exams, travel, dating, being dumped, through jobs and marriage, through pregnancy and birth.

Yoga remains my close friend, helping me balance life as a mother, wife and filmmaker. The life I am leading requires a strong core. To be a great mother, wife and creator from first eyes open in the morning till last breath before sleep I juggle all the roles, relying on the strength of mind, body and spirit that yoga brings me.

The physical challenges meet my zest for life; the long quiet breathing draws me inside, stilling my adrenals and my mind. It provides the space I need as I commit to a class and lets me hear what is truly going on, how I truly feel and how I respond. The deep slow twisting and turning massages me from the inside out, building a strong and pulsing core strength.

Raising children has many challenges. There is pressure to help them grow well, get good grades, pass their music exams, finish their chores, not answer back and the list goes on. The challenge I often find most provocative is determining what's important for them. What will be the most important skills they are going to need as adults? What is it that, above all, will benefit them every day, no matter how their lives unfold?

It's through yoga that I slow down enough and see what it is my children will most need. When I am helping shape their growing lives, I remember to place value on the things that I find the most valuable. Strength, empowerment, self-love and self-respect. Remembering, when I am with them, to spend my time, energy, thoughts and actions on what I value.

Even though yoga first began thousands of years ago, it still fits seamlessly into modern daily life, for me and for tens of millions of women around the world. Yoga creates a tool kit for a conscious life: conscious breathing, conscious movement, conscious state of mind, conscious thoughts, conscious eating and conscious actions.

This tool kit for life I adapt and use each day, not just on the mat. The lessons I learn in the class have remained useful throughout the ups and downs over the years. Yoga has held me through the roughest of storms and reminds me to have respect for myself, be kind to myself, believe in myself, and find love in myself.

So it is really is amongst the daily chores, the to-do lists, the dentist visits and the parent-teacher meetings that I breathe, listen, remember and use the skills that yoga has given me to find that peace and balance I am looking for. Yoga brings me to the present so I am content with the tasks required of me and helps me value this entire multi-tasking journey.

How does yoga help you in the midst of your life?