Yoga

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

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One of my favorite memories as a child was belting out the lyrics to “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner with my own mama. We were fearless and loud when we sang this song. It didn’t matter who was in the car with us or who might be listening to us on the sidewalk, we sang just to sing and we sang it loud!

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it

What’s love but a second hand emotion

What’s love got to do, got to do with it

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”

We were bold and courageous and so in love with each other. I look back on these moments and celebrate our playfulness and authenticity. We were so full of love, connection, and pure bliss.

I remember my dad telling me right before my daughter was born 9 years ago, “Sara you really don’t know what love is until you have a child of your own.” “How could that be,” I thought. At that time I was happily married, I had loving friendships, and thought I was well versed in love. Then Grace was born and my “small heart grew three sizes that day.” My heart was broken open in a way only a mother will ever know and I was flooded with love for this little being.

And then my sweet Porter was born and I had a direct experience of the bounty of love! Not only did I have enough love to love both of my children, but their love for each other was absolutely divine. The more we loved each other, the more love we had to give and receive.

Gurmukh’s brilliance shines through when she talks about the abundance of love.

“Sometimes I hear mothers say, “I love my child so much, I can’t imagine loving more. Where will the love come from for the new child on the way?” That is one of the true blessings of having children; they give you a direct experience of the bounty of the world. The truth is there is a bountifulness in love. It expands exponentially the minute you give to another. The fear that there isn’t enough is just a delusion of scarcity. Not only is there enough love for your new child, there is more love for your partner than you ever imagined, and the love you can create for your children is beyond measure. Love creates love. You don’t have to believe it. It’s a fact. It just is.”

Love is bountiful. Love is beautiful and blissful and pure and soulful. BUT what about the “bruitifulness” of love? What about those moments when love doesn’t lead you down the rosiest path?!? What about those moments when you feel heartbroken, angry, betrayed, hurt, confused etc. etc. etc.? What about those moments when love leads you down the path of most growth and expansion but also the path of most confusion and sadness? What about those moments when you begin to question how you are showing up for love in your life?!?! What about those moments when it takes everything you got just to show up?

One of my most favorite authors, Glennon Doyle says, “Love is not warm and fuzzy or sweet and sticky. Real love is tough as nails. It’s having your heart ripped out, putting it back together, and the next day, offering it back to the same world that just tore it up. It’s running toward pain and grief and brokenness instead of away from it. It’s turning the other cheek ’til you get whiplash. It’s resisting the overwhelming desire to quit, to save yourself for yourself. It’s exhausting and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s ugly, like using your bare hands to search for gold in piles of crap.”

I am sure you are as well versed in the struggles of love as I am. I am sure you are as well versed as I am in those moments where we feel so small. In those moments where we realize we are just learning to love. In those moments where our heart is shredded to pieces. As the song lyrics from “Say Something” go…

“And I will stumble and fall.

I’m still learning to love.

Just starting to crawl.”

So this February, as the world around you is making dinner reservations, buying flowers, and celebrating their definition of love, I invite you to keep crawling to keep celebrating the beauty and agony of love. To keep showing up for love…both the bliss and the heartache. To choose love over fear in any and every situation. To be a student of love. And as the late Maya Angelou said, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

This February can you commit to choosing love just one more time?!?!

xoxo

Sara

Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles. To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com.

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42 Days for 42 Years by Sara Guenther

As I sit down and attempt to put my thoughts on paper, I am flooded with an overabundance of emotions. My baby girl just turned seven and we’re headed up to the mountains with my own mama tribe to celebrate all our sweet Capricorn babies. This tribe of women met when our littles were teeny tiny and have continued to support each other as we’ve grown, expanded, and traveled this path of motherhood together.

Not only are our children’s birthdays a time to celebrate their sweet, perfect little souls, it’s a time to reflect upon our own growth as mothers, as women, and as an expression of the divine. My own path as a mother has been filled with vast, expansive, epic growth. My children have and continue to be my greatest, most inspiring, nagging, and never ending teachers. They continuously reflect back to me what I most need in any given moment and when I do not listen the message only becomes louder and louder and louder.

Yes, I’ve learned oodles and oodles and oodles these past seven years. I’ve learned about meconium minutes after birth. I’ve learned about engorged breasts and sore, raw nipples. I’ve learned way more than I ever intended about nighttime parenting, sleepless nights, night weaning, and co-sleeping. I’ve learned about elimination communication, cloth diapers, baby-led weaning, and potty training. I’ve learned about Depends, postpartum bleeding, and how to have a bowel movement again after having a vaginal birth. I’ve learned about leaking nipples and the best type of nursing pads and nursing bras. I’ve learned all about the pelvic floor and having less control over certain bodily sounds. I’ve learned about extended breastfeeding and how to talk honestly about why I’m still nursing my almost three year old. But most importantly, I’ve learned about the sacredness of the postpartum period, the “42-day sacred window.” Unfortunately though, I’ve learned about his through not honoring my own sacred window with both of my postpartum journeys.

“The ancient texts of Ayurvedic medicine teach that if a woman is taken care of properly during her first 42 days after giving birth, a solid foundation is established for vibrant health, vitality, and the ability to mother and partner well for many decades to come.” ~Ysha Oakes, Ayurvedic Practitioner.

Although the time period may vary slightly, most Indian communities practice postpartum “confinement” for 40-42 days. During this confinement period a woman is supported in her physical healing, her uterus returns to pre-pregnancy size, breastfeeding and milk supply is established, and the perineum or caesarean section incision heals. A woman is supported in her journey of becoming or expanding her role as a mother and is offered a precious window of time to bond and form a healthy attachment to her new baby. Additionally, this provides time to begin to process the birth and perhaps any emotional birth trauma that may have occurred.

During this 42-day window, mothers should be allowed to fully rest, recuperate, and bond with their baby. Mothers should refrain from doing chores, grocery shopping, errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, laundry, or hosting guests. Rather than stepping right back into her pre-pregnancy life, a woman should be allowed to rest, should be given hot oil massages daily, and fed simple, easily digestible foods and herbal drinks to promote healing and improve milk supply.

As much as I fully intended to create a space supportive of rest and rejuvenation, I found myself entertaining, cooking, and filled with feelings of doubt, depression, and defensiveness. With my second, at 2 weeks postpartum my incredibly supportive husband had to return to work and I was not only responsible for my own healing and caring for a newborn, but was solely responsible for caring for my oldest child, managing the household, cooking, cleaning, laundry, groceries - oh and did I mention my husband travels regularly for work and I was caring for a newborn baby and theoretically my own postpartum healing? This unfortunately is the reality and trend for most women in our western culture. Thank goodness I was not working on top of the ever-increasing load I was managing at home.

So, do you think my own postpartum experiences will influence me for the next 42 years of my life? You are damn right they will! Initially, I looked back on my own postpartum experiences with anger, exhaustion, irritation, regret, confusion, betrayal, etc. etc. etc. I felt stuck in the shadow of my own feelings of what I co-created postpartum. But with every shadow there is an invitation to celebrate and embrace the light. Through yoga, mindfulness, meditation, involvement in a spiritual community, and a vast openness to receive, I’ve been able to transform and cleanse myself of these toxic feelings and step into the light and my own dharmic path. Because of the work I’ve done around my own sacred window, I have been able to devote my life to supporting women with their own postpartum journeys through yoga, meditation, and birth story healing circles. I’ve transformed my own shadow into one of the greatest gifts I can offer to women and families.

This leads me to my greatest wish for every pregnant and postpartum woman. That wish is to fully honor, savor, celebrate, embrace, and own your own 42-day sacred window. Invite mothers, sisters, grandmothers, girlfriends, postpartum doulas, and coworkers to support you in your own postpartum healing. Allow yourself to bathe in their love and light. Allow yourself to be held, supported, massaged, fed, and cared for on a deep spiritual level. Allow yourself time to bond with your baby and your ever expanding sense of self. Allow yourself to slowly reenter the world as we know it now and to bring with you a sense of growth and luminosity. And if your 42-day sacred window is lacking and not as nourishing and sweet as it should be, allow this to be an invitation to create space for more support, transparency, and love within your life. Allow your 42-day sacred window to manifest growth, receptivity, and abundance for the next 42 years of your life!

Love, light, and blessing to all women everywhere! ~Sara

Sara teaches prenatal, baby and me, toddler and me, and family yoga classes at the ‘hood. She also leads our Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training in Denver, in addition to small, intimate birth story healing circles. Join Sara for her next Postnatal/Baby and Me Yoga Teacher Training on Saturday January 30th from 11:00-7:00 and Sunday January 31st from 2:00-7:00. For more information about Sara and her yoga offerings please visit www.begraceyoga.com.

One Deep Breath by Faith Davis

I still remember one of the first times I sat down alone with the intention to meditate. I had recently returned from my first 200-hour yoga teacher training, a winter of slow living at a mountain ashram. I was just launching my massage therapy practice, working in Boulder, traveling to all of its suburbs, and reconnecting with old friends. Life was moving fast - too fast.

"I'm going to meditate every day," I declared with the zeal of a true beginner. My intention was to force life to slow down. Six years later I can very honestly tell you I still haven't gotten the hang of meditating every day, but, I no longer feel like life is speeding by me. What's my secret?

One deep breath. Inhale...exhale.

I take one deep breath as I wake up in the morning and one just before I fall asleep at night. I take one deep breath when I brew my coffee or tea, and one when I first step outside each morning. I take one deep breath when someone cuts me off in traffic, when I have a pounding headache, when I feel overwhelmed or terribly sad.

When it feels like life is flying by, I take one deep breath.

Taking these deep breaths offers a pause in my day. It offers one single moment to slowly notice how I feel. Sometimes I take a deep breath and simply ask: what do I need today?

*Sometimes I take a deep breath to remember to hold a particular feeling or moment in my heart. *

The beautiful thing about this practice is that it doesn't require any extra time or equipment. No matter how busy you feel, how joyful or exhausted, how capable or helpless, anyone can take one deep breath.

This single breath in each moment of life reminds me there is time for my experience - happy or sad, joyous or heartbreaking. I don't wish any moment away, and in this practice life stopped speeding by me and started flowing one breath at a time.

Faith Davis is a maternity massage therapist, postpartum doula, and Prenatal/Baby & Me Yoga teacher at the 'hood, with over 1000 hours experience teaching women, mamas and families. Join Faith at the Mama Mini Retreat on January 30, 1-4pm, for an afternoon of moving one breath at a time through simple yoga, meditation, and self-care. To find out more visit yogiinmotion.com or email faith.davis@me.com.

Introducing our Newest Yoga Teacher - Shaun White

We are so excited to welcome Shaun White to our roster of amazing yoga teachers at the mama'hood, and particularly excited to have our very first dad/teacher!

Shaun joined the military when he was just 17 and spent 15 years in the infantry. Shaun first found yoga in 2007 through a DVD that one of his Army buddies gave him; but he didn’t attend his first public class for 2 years. Initially drawn to yoga for its physical benefits, it was the mental and spiritual shifts he experienced that kept him coming to the studio.

However, when he broke his back during a training accident in 2011 he did not find his way back to his mat until three years later when he was in the VA hospital for PTSD rehabilitation. The VA is where he was introduced to Comeback Yoga and his life really started changing.

Although Shaun originally used yoga as a means to balance his physical exercise regimen, when he was offered a teacher training scholarship through Comeback Yoga & Kindness he began studying the Sutras and learning what it really meant to fully practice yoga. Shaun found his connection to the universe, his path to happiness, and how to exist, through his practice of yoga.

Currently, Shaun is teaching two classes at the VA to fellow veterans. His goal through teaching yoga is to positively affect his students, whether it is through his words or his movements.

Shaun and his wonderful wife Aubrie were married in 2013, and they welcomed their first child this May. Baby Harrison will be joining Shaun at the mama’hood for Baby & Me Yoga on Thursdays at 11am!