Maintaining a graceful composure when performing life’s demanding household and child-raising chores can take a toll, leaving us feeling depleted and out of balance. But practicing the postures and meditation of hatha yoga can restore that equilibrium. Yoga practice connects us to our bodies, and thus to our bodily wisdom if it is done mindfully.
Remember: If we don’t give to ourselves by taking care of our well-being, then we cannot take care of others.
One lovely pose (asana) to try is called lalitsana, the pose of royal ease. You can see this pose in statues of Yogini Hayagriva. Yogini translates as female practitioner of yoga. In Hinduism, the god Vishnu is one of three supreme deities, called the Preserver. One of his avatars (manifestations or incarnations) is the goddess Hayagriva, which means the “horse-necked one.” She is depicted sitting on an animal in a graceful posture, lalitasana, supporting her child with one arm. Both mother and child have horse’s heads. Hayagriva is considered to embody knowledge and wisdom. In this mythology, the horse pulls the sun’s cart into the sky every day, shedding light on the world. Symbolically, Hayagriva represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by God, over the forces of passion and darkness.
To assume the lalitasana pose, sit on a low stool, chair, bench, or firm ottoman with your left leg bent so that the sole of your left foot rests on your right inner thigh. Allow your right leg to extend, half bent, to the floor. You may notice a sense of ease and grace as your spine becomes aligned in this pose. This asana is similar to a half lotus pose, but sitting on a chair or bench allows the right leg and foot to drape down, without the strain that sitting in lotus pose can have on the knees.
Take this pose throughout the day when you feel restless and distracted. Even a few moments will help ground you so you can return to the tasks at hand with a bit more calmness. A few minutes of mindful breathing in this pose will enhance the experience. May all mothers and fathers feel this sense of comfort!
The horse head on the voluptuous human body reminds me that our being is composed of many aspects. Being a loving parent will look different at different times and stages of your life. Practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis will help keep you limber and supple in mind, body, and spirit. We need this suppleness to stay open to the many ways life brings us into contact with our own darker natures.