Deciding to simplify

I recently made a difficult decision to lead fewer yoga classes. When I completed my first teacher training program five years ago, I started leading classes in the evenings and on weekends in-between working full-time and taking care of my family. I continued to lead classes for three years as a stay-at-home mom and later, when I went back to full-time in the corporate world. This pace has been working perfectly for me, but changes are inevitable, and as Wanderlust Juniors grow up, our dynamics also evolve, making it necessary to choose our focus.

Yoga is my passion, and it is a privilege for me to share this wonderful practice with others who seek to create and sustain positive changes in their lives by cultivating discipline in order to bring their lives back into ease and balance. For me, the practice of yoga is essential, particularly when life picks up its pace. Yoga helps me to move with this inevitable ebb and flow, staying buoyant while making small adjustments as necessary. When I can no longer stay afloat, when I start to feel wobbly due to fatigue, changes need to be made. If I wobble in handstand, I do not push myself to work harder. Instead, I retreat into the safety of Balasana (Child’s Pose) to recharge and re-evaluate whether I want to try the inversion once again or move through a slow flow into Savasana. So, what happens when life off the mat gets a bit wobbly and I can no longer sustain the balance?

I continued to tell myself I had the situation under control, until two mornings ago. I woke up late, too late for my yoga practice. Having finally rolled out of bed after hitting ‘snooze’ for an hour (no exaggeration), I lazily sipped warm water with lemon in the kitchen while feeding our cat, Tigger, packing school and work lunches, and preparing breakfast. Multitasking. Mr. Wanderlust, in the meantime, helped Wanderlust Juniors choose their outfits for the day, then tended to the cat’s litter box. It was a typical morning in our home. Yet, I felt rushed and half-awake. Not only had I slept in, but I didn’t have a chance to step on my mat, to wake up by linking movement to breath, to become centred. I kept going with the flow, glancing nervously at the clock that seemed to be moving too fast.

Sitting down to gulp my coffee in between large mouthfuls of cereal, I watched with dismay as the youngest Wanderlust Junior jumped up from his spot across from me at the table, proclaiming that he didn’t have time to finish his breakfast because he had to run. I didn’t need to look in the mirror. The truth was clearly reflected back to me, “From the mouths of babes…” He continued this pretend-play while I went upstairs to dress for the work day before rushing out of the house. I did stop for a brief moment to give kisses and hugs to my children when, again, the youngest Wanderlust Junior called me back to him, asking for a hug. I gave him a quick hug in passing, but he called me back for the second time and implored me for a proper embrace.

There I was, busy and late for work. Too rushed and too late to slow down to give my children the hugs they deserve. Driving to work, I sank deeper into a sense of guilt at pulling away from my children too soon, reminding myself that someday, they might no longer want to openly show affection, that I must enjoy these special moments.

If I had previously been in denial about how busy my life had become, I could no longer continue to hide from the truth. For that reason, I’m cutting back in order to spend more time with my family, and this means eliminating not only many of the tedious items on my ‘to do’ list, but also some of what I enjoy but which takes away from my time with my favourite people. My morning does not need to be rushed and I can stand to take my own advice to slow down, to get more sleep in order to wake up well-rested for my sunrise yoga practice, then give myself plenty of time for the morning routine, speaking calmly with my children and giving them lingering hugs before leaving the house, reminding them of how much they mean to me. Likewise, I will refrain from over-schedule our evenings with Wanderlust Juniors’ karate classes and the yoga classes that I’m often too tired to lead.

I will continue to re-evaluate as we move through our routines, creating positive adjustments to suit the needs of our family. It feels somewhat sad to give up the classes that I love to lead, to miss out on seeing the smiling faces of the clients. I continue to remind myself of the greater reason for these changes. Most importantly, I must let go of the idea that this is, in some way, a reflection of an inability to be successful. Multitasking has its limits and we must set and respect our own boundaries while questioning our preconceived ideas of what it means to be successful. My role is to show an authentic example to my children. For that reason, I will continue to make it my priority to slow down, to simplify, trusting that all the pieces will fit into place as I allow intuition to guide my decisions for a healthier balance. This is my new definition of success.

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