I’m sitting on the couch with my 6-week-old son asleep on my chest in the Moby carrier. Even with how much I long for more than 4 hours of sleep in a row, I try to breathe in and out slowly, savoring the moments, being present. I know from the looks I get from women thirty to fifty years my senior that even in the sleeplessness, these are moments to be cherished. When I see them looking at my son, I know they miss their babies.
I didn’t expect my yoga practice to be a place that would remind me of the sacredness of these moments with my infant. I just completed my second of 16 weekends of Yoga Teacher Training. Each weekend’s training is 10 hours long, with 4-6 hours of asana (poses) and pranayama (breath) practice and another 4-6 hours of discussion and teaching about the other tenets of yoga practice. After we complete our time of asana & pranayama practice, we take a few minutes to journal. I have been surprised that during these journal times, what springs to mind is not my hamstrings, my back, or my feelings about my class; what springs to mind is my feelings about my son.
I keep finding myself journaling about how much I love and miss my son. As I’m learning about yoga, this progression is so obvious, because yoga is the practice of union: union of the body and breath, union of the pieces of myself that are scattered about, and my union with God. Through this time of practicing union, I long to be with the boy I have physically carried with me the last nine months and carried close in my heart for two years prior.
Right now, as he and I live life together, he’s entirely dependent on me for survival…I produce 100% of the food he eats. In this way, he does not yet feel like his own person, but feels much more like an extension of me. I read somewhere recently that infants often learn to say “Da Da” before they learn to say “Ma Ma.” The theory of the author is that infants recognize dads as someone separate from themselves but their mothers are an extension of themselves and they don’t identify them as a separate person until later.
I know that most of my son’s and my life will be lived separately. He’ll move away and have his own family, and for most of the days of his life, I won’t be with him. His journey is already one of learning to let go. At first he lived in me, and now he lives in my arms, and in a just a few months, he’ll start to leave my arms and live in my house… and eventually he won’t live here anymore either.
That’s tomorrow, though. Today, I celebrate the union of my relationship with my son. One of the definitions of yoga from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is “yoga citta vritti nirodha.” Yoga is the cessation of the waves of movement in the consciousness. The union comes in the place of stillness, where everything stops. Tonight, I relish in union with my son, who’s breathing in and out on my chest. I can do this only because I’ve ceased all movement and live just now in the now with him. (With a slight pause to write this blog about it, thus momentarily negating the union. Eek!)
So, back to it. May this week be one of peace and space and a cessation of movement of life’s busyness to be still and be with the ones I love.