Mommy Yoga Q&A

by Lauren Matthies


The other day I was asked to do a Q&A about my yoga history and motherhood.  I thought she asked some good questions and figured I would share my responses with you all.

How long have you been practicing yoga?
I've been practicing yoga on and off since high school.  I used to be a dancer and then got really sick my freshman year of high school, started having chronic pain, and was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia (before anyone had heard of it).  I started practicing yoga some after that, then more in college and graduate school.

What inspired you to begin practicing?
I think I mostly answered this question above, but it was similar to dance in the way I loved to move my body, yet gentler on it after my diagnosis.

How soon after you started practicing yoga did you decide to go to TT and open a studio?
I got my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy and then moved to California to be with my husband (we had been dating long distance for over two years at the time).  When I moved I decided to attend yoga teacher's training while looking for a job. On the first day of class I felt moved and knew that teaching yoga was part of my purpose in life.  I taught for others for a few years (and even some after I opened my own studio) before deciding I wanted a place that embodied my beliefs about what a yoga studio and class should be.  At first I did it all and taught every class.  Eventually I brought on some teachers, although I was still the primary instructor. I sold the studio when we moved cross country, and I miss it more than I expected. 

How often do you practice now?
Not nearly as often as I would like, but I do poses every day.  I haven't actually attended a yoga class in forever.

Any words of wisdom you can offer those who are new to yoga, especially new moms?
Try it.  If you take a class and don't like it, try another.  If you don't like one teacher , try another. There are so many types of yoga and every teacher is different so don't assume you don't like yoga just because you had a bad experience.

Also, involve your kids.  They're always watching and can learn so early.  Yoga comes naturally to them.  They're great teachers.

And lastly, be respectful of your body and smart with your practice.  Especially in the age of instagram yoga it's tempting to try crazy and even dangerous poses that look cool.  I even see "experienced" practitioners doing poses that are anatomically unsafe.

What was the biggest misconception, if any, you had about yoga when you first started practicing?
I don't know that I had any misconceptions when I started practicing, but the biggest ones I've seen as an instructor are that "yoga is a religion" and/or can't be practiced by Christians and that "I can't do xyz because 'I'm not flexible,' 'my arms are too short,' etc."

How has yoga changed you?
I can't even begin to answer this question appropriately.  It's changed me so much.  It became my career and my studio changed me in so many ways.  I grew so much as a studio owner, learned so much about myself, became more confident, and gained such pride and sense of accomplishment as a result. As hard as owning a studio was , I miss it and teaching greatly.  Now I hope to be able to inspire and influence others via instagram until I can teach again.  My goal is to reach as many as I can.

How has being a mother changed you?
Again, wow. I don't even know where to start.  Motherhood is infinitely harder than I ever imagined.  I always dreamed of being a mother, and, as arrogant as it sounds, I assumed it would come naturally to me.  The challenges started during my pregnancy and have continued to this day.

My son is very mommy needy and we've allowed him to be.  I operate under the idea that "you can't spoil a baby under the age of one" and, as such, I've let myself be his whole world, leaving almost no time to myself (other than a two minute shower every other day, I'm always with him.  We bedshare and he naps on or with me). It's exhausting and I feel like I've lost some of my identity as an individual and as a wife.  We also moved cross country when he was 10 weeks old and I gave up my job as an instructor and studio owner without much closure (because he came early).  It's been an adjustment to say the least.

Yet, at the same time, I wish I could relive the moment when they put him on my chest for the first time.  The overwhelming love I felt for him was beyond words.  I remember the warmth I felt, both physically and emotionally, and I never wanted him to leave.  The smiles he gives me, the way he reaches out for me, the fact that I am the one he wants constantly, all the reasons that I'm exhausted are the things I love about motherhood.  It's a catch 22.  As draining as it is, I also adore being so needed.