Guest Blogger- What does Yoga mean to you??

Welcome – Katie Mulligan Innes- to my blog!  We have been friends since 2001 and have been through SO much together.  We’ve been with each other through weddings, children, losses and life in general.  I love her like a sister and she is going to share with us her journey through motherhood, yoga, and life!

Thanks so much for sharing with us Katie.

Journey = Motherhood + Yoga Practice

I met Melanie 17 years ago. To this day she is one of my closest friends. She is compassionate, sensitive, downright hilarious and supportive. I marvel at how much we have been through all these years. As readers you already know she is as real as they come. 🙂

When Melanie asked me to guest blog this week I was thrilled and honoured. I am a huge fan of this wonderful blog community she has built and I couldn’t wait to get writing. But then the doubts started to creep in. Who is going to care to read what I have to say? What do I have to say that is different from any other “yogi mother”? My writing practice is a bit rusty!
The self doubt crept in and I attempted to push past it as I began to explore what kind of topic I wanted to cover. So here it goes…

Yoga began for me as a purely physical practice 12 years ago. I needed something to keep me balanced as I studied at University. I was going through a lot of major things, teetering with my first independence from my family, involved in an unhealthy relationship and overall trying to find myself. I will never forget the first moment I stepped on my mat and had my first practice. My ego got the best of me that day and I left feeling the class feeling like a discombobulated pretzel, sore but hooked on this new sacred practice. Little did I know, it would change my life. Over time I learned to stop competing with myself, stop forcing poses, to breath and only then did begin to really understand what the practice is about. It’s is so much more than poses!

I am always curious to hear how other people come to find yoga, what brings one to their mat and what keeps them coming back? Is it the physical movement, the breath, the meditation? I would love to hear the stories of fellow yogi journeys!

My yoga journey deepened in 2014 when I completed my first 220 hour YTT. This 8 month program allowed me to make the gradual lifestyle changes I wanted to incorporate into my lifestyle.

Graduating from this program, I was on a high, I had finished an amazing school year and had a job lined up for fall, I was weeks away from marrying my husband and I had checked something big off my bucket list… teach yoga. Life was good.

Fast forward to January 2016. I am a new mother to a 3 week baby boy and Melanie encourages me to join her on a new yoga journey. At this point I feel more lost than I have ever felt. I had a new baby and didn’t understand why I wasn’t in bliss. Why is this mom thing so hard? Oh the lessons of those early days. So onto a new yoga journey with Mel at my side I went. For 7 months Mel and I attended 2 day long yoga courses to deepen our practice, challenge our physical and mental practice and in general work on ourselves. Those early months I had my car loaded with baby stuff and we would trek in to the course, hands full of bolsters, yoga mats, our notebooks and lunches and red faced. (two trips are for suckers!).

That first full weekend I had my 6 week old and I thought, I must be crazy, dragging a 6 week old to work on some of my dreams, I am so selfish. But I needed this course. I needed the direction, I needed to work through some junk and I need to take a hard long look at myself. I was determined this would help and make me a better mother. So with baby in tow I began. I am not sure I would have kept going or made it through without Mel there with me. It didn’t take me long with the encouragement from my husband, Mel, family and friends that this was going to be amazing for my son and I. I am so grateful that I pushed through and took that journey.

Here we are 2018 and I don’t claim to have it all together, nor am I the perfect mother, wife or yoga teacher. I have learned about yoga as a personal lifestyle and learned how important it is as a mother to push past the guilt when it comes to taking care of myself first. This may look different to all the mothers out there. For me it is trying to live yoga on and off the mat everyday. Conscious living, or trying to (because really we can’t do it all) Might mean being present and using the breath as often as we can. It might mean eating more plant based, recycling, exercise, the list goes on, all I know is I can be more present as a mother if I have done the work on me and taken the time for me. There are no rules.

At the end of the day maybe you stepped on your mat for all of 5 minutes this week. No one has the power to judge what your personal journey might look like. Maybe your yoga journey connects with taking time for self care. For me personally, yoga and self care go hand in hand. The transition to motherhood with yoga definitely helped keep me balanced. I hope I can continue to grow as a mother and yogi in this crazy busy world. 🙂

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