Contributed By Maria Waldron, Author of Lift, Love, Life
Well hello there! And welcome to my new site! I told you that changes were a-comin’ and I have to say, I’m really loving these big changes. In fact, I can’t stop opening up my site just to admire the beautiful work from my designer. And thank you so much to everyone who has made the move with me, you have no idea how much it means to me to be able to start fresh with this blog but still have the same faithful friends :)
As for the next big change?
I start my 200 hour yoga teacher training TOMORROW MORNING. To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I am besides myself just thinking about all of the exciting things I’ll learn, the new people I’ll meet, and the possibility of this adventure changing my life. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to sleep tonight ;)
So why do I think this will be a life changing event for me? Well, because it already has. But let me back up for a hot minute.
In 2008, I took my first yoga class at the Freedom Aquatic Center at George Mason University and instantly fell in love with how my body felt. But then I moved to Georgia to be with my husband (Army stuff, what else?), back to Virginia, and then finally here. I did yoga on and off during these times but for me it was always about the physical benefits and never about this whole mind-body mumbo jumbo thing you hear everyone and their momma raving about. When I got pregnant with Caleb, I got serious about yoga again and decided to get back into a regular practice by going twice a week. I found a new studio, discovered a new teacher that I couldn’t get enough of, and I ended up having a wonderful pregnancy due to my regular routine of yoga, running, and CrossFit. All was well, life was great, and I felt fan-freaking-tastic.
And then I had Caleb.
I don’t mean to scare any new or potential moms out there but there is no way in hell anyone can prepare you for the shitstorm of hormones you’ll experience after having a baby. Even if you do everything by the book by eating right and exercising throughout your pregnancy, those hormones are coming for you and nothing’s stopping them. Though, I did have a friend who had a baby around the same time as me, and as much as I love this woman, when she told me the hormone fairies skipped her I immediately wanted to sucker punch her in the throat. And I promise that’s not normal for me.
As much as I tried to keep it together for my new son, for those around me, and even for this blog, I really had some dark days postpartum. And I mean that literally. There were days where as beautiful and sunny as it was outside, everything was still gray and dreary for me. I would look at Caleb, see sunshine, then look away only for things to get black again. Of course, I had my awesome days but for the most part, there was always this internal struggle for me to do even the simplest task like clearing the dishwasher. I really had to talk myself into doing things because I knew they were necessary and because I love my son so much that I despised the thought of him ever seeing me fall apart.
I don’t know if maybe the husband had been home, things would have been any different. There was nothing stopping these waves of hormones. And even though Ranger school and his deployment didn’t last that long, just knowing what he was going through was enough for me to keep everything to myself to avoid stressing him out. But I’m human and I still caught myself lashing out at the poor guy the few times I did hear from him. In fact, there was a moment clear as day when I knew I something was up. After not hearing from my husband for weeks and hearing about a helicopter crash in his unit, he uploaded a harmless, silly picture poking fun at another military branch on facebook when I suddenly lost my marbles. Now, that picture makes me laugh hysterically but at the time, I couldn’t contain myself and ended up crying for hours to my best friends in Seattle and California about everything in the world that was bothering me at the time. It was the strangest thing ever, and SO unlike my usual, bubbly self. I realized then that something was up and that I needed something other then running and lifting weights to clear my head and zap this funk I was in.
I hinted in our four year anniversary post that I sought counseling, but I also turned to yoga again. I loved running and Crossfit, but the high I felt always seemed to disappear as quickly as it came on. So I went to a yoga class one day, thinking it was going to be just like every other class I’ve been to and loved. But for some inexplicable reason, I walked out of that class and everything clicked for me. I don’t know if it was the meditation coupled with the deep breathing, or if it’s something our teacher said that resonated with me, but it was that one class that I will never forget, where everything began to connect and I finally started to understand the whole mind-body connection. I drank the “yoga mumbo jumbo” kool-aid and finally got it.
That class taught me that all this perfection and this image that I was trying to attain as a new mom didn’t matter. That life wasn’t about trying to live a certain way, but to just live your life and let it take you where it needs to take you. I learned to take these strange feelings in stride and look at them with curiosity, and not enmity. It was then I learned how to step back, pause, and learn to understand how and why I was feeling that way, so that I could brace these feelings with a positive light.
Maybe my epiphany was a result of multiple counseling sessions coupled with my deep yoga practice, or maybe it was just my raging hormones finally subsiding, but it was that day and after that class when I finally felt the sun again. My world was light again, and it wasn’t just when I lovingly looked at my child.
Yoga really came to me at a time when I needed it most, and it changed my life. I finally learned that yoga isn’t just breathing and stretching. It’s not about learning how to do a handstand or headstand, instead it’s about learning how to stand. Since that one class, every time I practice, not only do I leave my mat physically and mentally stronger, but I walk away enlightened. Each practice reminds to approach life in a different and kinder manner, and it reminds me to strive to be a better person for myself and for everyone I love. And unlike the endorphins I get from other physical activities, the feelings last.
The reason I consider this a life changing journey is because after this training experience, I’ll finally have the opportunity to change someone’s life how yoga changed mine. If there is a mother out there that feels the same way I did after having a baby, I want use my experience and be there for her. I want to let her know that she’s not alone, and that there is a way out of the darkness. And if I can give an inkling of how freaking amazing yoga makes both my body AND mind feel to just one person, I’ll know that I have been a successful teacher. That’s life changing in itself knowing that I can make a small difference in someones life.
And that is why I am besides myself and cannot wait till tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a long night for me for sure, but the end result will be totally worth it ;) By March, I’ll be certified to teach hot and power vinyasa yoga. So yes, big thing’s are definitely poppin’!
Have a great weekend world, I’ll be up to my nose in anatomy books :)