Refocus Your Focus

istock photo by lovelens

istock photo by lovelens

Meditation every day can be tough. Daunting even. Most often, it may seem like work. Work that you just don’t have time for. Work that frustrates more than calms. Work that fits nowhere into the list of priorities you have set for your day. After all, mediation is the art of focus. Focusing 100% of your attention in one specific area. Actively engaging your mind and body in mediation is a process. A process that at first may not come easily.

A few steps to help simplify the task of meditation:

1. Let your breath be your guide. Listen to the sound of your inhale and exhale. Take even breaths. In and out. In and out. In other words, don’t concentrate so hard that you start to hyperventilate. Yes. This has happened to me. I became so fixated on the act of breathing that I needed a brown paper bag and a cold wash cloth. <Pfft. Snort. It’s funny now.>

2. Find your purpose. Spiritual? Connectedness? Relaxation? All of the above? Remember that your purpose in each meditation can and will change. Today, my purpose was to wallow in the depths of a silent room. As time ticked slowly and silently by. Tick. Tick. Tick. 

3. Consciously clear your mind of frustration, stress, anxiety, and fearRepeat after me: It’s okay the baby didn’t sleep through the night. It’s okay that I’m tired. It’s okay that the kids threw trains at each other’s heads (granted no one was seriously hurt). It’s okay. It’s okay. I promise. 

4. Adjust your body to a position of renewal. Lotus pose. Tree pose. Child’s pose. Corpse pose. Sleep pose. 

5. Be grateful. Practice awareness outside of formal mediation. Find your breath actively during each day. Take in the beauty that surrounds you. The warmth of the winter sun. The purity of your child’s face. The kindness in your best friend’s actions. The umpteenth time you’ve stepped on a freakin’ Lego. Breathe. Be grateful. The pain in your foot will subside, that is – until next time. <oooommmmmmm.>

Peace

My mantra from today:

May I find joy in the chaos and love in the storm. May I find the strength to pursue my passions in this life. May peace overflow from my heart and may the beauty within guide me to do good for myself and others, always.

Do you have a daily mantra or prayer you say often?

in the moment

Be in the moment.

Be in the moment.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

and….done.

Oh yes! A record ten seconds to clear my head!

Live in the moment.  We hear this saying all the time in some form or another.  Whether it be in a yoga class, philosophy book, or from the older lady at Target who is keen on observing our primo mommying adventures.  But what does it really mean to us as mothers?  Frankly, I find it extremely hard to “be” in the moment as a mom.  I am constantly on the go, go, go.  With housework and work work  and play dates and nap time and bedtime and lunch time and freak-out time (the kids, not me—OK, me too!), there never seems like enough time in the day to actually exist in the moment.  As a mother to small children, I feel like I am constantly battling.  I’m battling laundry and dishes and dirty floors and messy bedrooms and scraped knees and melt-downs.  All the while leaving me exhausted and short-tempered, craving a piece of chocolate cake and a shower.

To revel in a clear mind and a calm body, it feels foreign to most.  And it shouldn’t.  Maybe the definition of living in the moment has everything to do with the jumbled and discombobulated life I do live and nothing to do with the life I perceive it to represent.  Not yearning for the past when I was flying solo or a future that holds the next best thing to make my life easier.  The clean house that I strive for or the live-in nanny that I will never have, but dream about often.  Maybe if I stopped fighting the daily chores and the sleepless nights, my mind would awaken to the revelation that, YES! this is my moment.  Every day with my children and my husband.  The good, the bad, the pee all over the bathroom, they all lead me to me.

divine drops: a magic pose for calming fussy babies

Sleep is something I haven’t had in about five years.  More nights than not, I’m bouncing from room to room at 3am.  Cuddling, shoosh-ing, escorting to the bathroom, and getting annoyed that the husband snores right through it all.  Hello.  You’d think he would join me and the kids on our middle of the night escapades.  Honestly though, my kids become “mommy kids” at night.  Anyhow, I can’t say now that it’s all that bad.  Ella knows that on school nights 8pm is bedtime and she’s usually pretty compliant.  She has her snack and reads her books and off to dreamland she goes.  Ethen is three years-old, he goes in at 7:30pm and he’ll usually sleep right on through until 7am. (Although daylight savings has been keeping him up a bit longer.  I think he gets confused when I rally him up for night night and the sun is blazing through his bedroom window.)

Not too long ago though, I was a mom of two kids under two and night-time and nap time and any other time involving fussy, crying babies was always a challenge.  That was, until I discovered a great yoga technique for getting my wee little ones to zonk out.  It’s perfect for newborns through about one year.  So if you’re a new mommy and are having a difficult time getting your precious one to calm down and go nighty night, pay attention.  Divine Drops Pose might just be your saving grace.  It was definitely mine.

An excerpt from one of my absolute favorite mommy and baby books, Itsy Bitsy Yoga by Helen Garabedian:

A Magic Pose

Divine Drops

(Newborn version)

Divine Drops activate my calming reflex and soothe me in a jiffy!  Divine Drops are easy to do with me at anytime and almost anywhere – especially when I am fussy or in a colicky mood.

  1. Stand with your feet more than hip distance apart.
  2. Hold your baby facing you with her legs pressed into your abdomen.  Place your right hand underneath her hips and lower back, and use your left hand to support your baby’s neck and the back of her head.  Her legs are being fully or partially supported as they snuggle into your body.
  3. Turn your toes out to the sides at a 45 degree angle as you prepare to squat.
  4. Inhale, filling your lower abdomen, chest, and arms completely with breath.
  5. Exhale as you bend your knees and quickly drop down into a wide squat while continuing to hold your baby.
  6. On your next inhale, press your feet into the floor and lift yourself and your baby back up into the starting stance.

Repeat 3-10 times and as often as needed throughout the day and night.

Divine Drops
(Older baby version)

photo by: Fit Pregnancy

Variation pose: If your baby becomes addicted to this pose and you become too tired doing it (like at 2am), you can try holding and supporting your baby as you gently bounce on an exercise ball.  I used to do this with Ella as well and it worked!

 ***Always remember to keep your baby’s head in place and supported at all times!***

I hope this works for you!

Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

dr. lisa