January 30, 2012

My Baby Wears Bindi: One Mama’s Journey to Raise a Conscious Kiddo. ~ Brooke Kochel

Motherhood. The new dream job? The hardest job you’ll ever love? The 24-hour career that hi-jacked your yoga practice? Yeah, me too. 

Our baby was conceived in a state of awareness a mere six months after a Shiva Rea induced high from a 10-day teacher training immersion in Venice Beach, California. Not yet having met my baby daddy, I remember Shiva rocking a toddler one night during a Dave Stringer kirtan. She glanced back at me, seeming to say as only Shiva Rea can in a sweet telepathic conversation, “You’ll be rocking a baby one day soon, in a sweet, loving environment just like this.”

The universe dropped darling husband into my lap and all signs pointed to a soul needing to make its way to planet Earth. My belly was the perfect vehicle for said transportation and I was eager to do my best “Preg-nasana”.  But after four years of practicing yoga and finally mastering Pincha Mayurasana (forearm balance) with a scorpion variation, I was a little baffled as to what being suspended in air touching my toes to my head had really prepared me for in life. What was a bendy girl to do when she couldn’t touch her toes?

Needless to say, it was a rough nine months. I’m just going to throw it out there…it was a rough nine months after that. But as the fog from the childbearing year began to lift, my aspirations for my little one began to lift as well.

At three weeks old, we loaded her up for a road trip to see the Dalai Lama in Memphis. Have you ever been on a road trip with a nursing infant? Now this part, yoga prepared me for.

In the south, they call it “Red Neck Nursing” but you might call it Cow Pose. Yep, that’s right. All that Cat/Cow action I been doing for years thinking I was warming up my spine like the sweet spoken yoga teacher told me, was really preparing me for this moment. I’m in the backseat of a moving vehicle on my hands and knees, over a car seat with a real live being sucking milk out of me. There should be a Sanscrit name for this, oh wait, there is: Bitilasana. I think it should have been Titi-asana. Worth the effort, His Holiness kindly spoke to the compassion of mother’s milk as I sat nursing in his audience.

There would be more of this sacred cow pose to come on future spiritual quests. I’m having flashbacks now of winding through the French Pyrenees, lost at midnight after taking a wrong turn in Zaragoza, Spain. We’d trekked there for Pilar’s first birthday, on a pilgrimage to see her namesake, Basilica del Pilar. It is said the Virgin Mary appeared to James there, asking him to build the cathedral as he spread his message of compassion to Spain.

Next stop for our flowering lotus was a rally to hear a man speak who’s done great work for the global good, Bill Clinton. Now she slept through this one, but I’m hoping his humanitarian charisma rubbed off on her.

The list goes on for places Little Bit has been and the people that have graced her presence. She’s frolicked in Mahatma Gandhi’s Memorial Garden, slept jetlagged in front of Queen Elizabeth’s home, jammed through a C.C. White Kirtan, adjusted poses with Simon Park and danced with Shiva Rea (who she calls Sheeba).

There’ve been many questions surface from myself as a parent and from curious onlookers. When do you start a child’s spiritual and humanitarian education? Can she glean anything at all from these experiences, being so young, or are we just doing it for ourselves?

The answers are fleeting but steady as she grows into herself as a mature toddler of two and a half. At one, when asked to do an Adho Mukha Svanasana she’d happily run to my mat and show off her no handed version of Downward Facing Dog. She joyfully hangs like a monkey from my body when I practice “oga” at home. When she sees a figure of Buddha, she asks, “Where’s Jesus?” and vice versa. Last week she literally asked me for the stairway to heaven.

And then there are the simple things. The sparkle in her eyes and sheer ecstasy in her smile, as she shares her last bit of coveted goldfish cracker, gives me hope she’ll do something great, like end world hunger. But in a Mother Teresa sort of way; not in a Toddler & Tiara pageant sort of way.

The conclusion I came to last night, as we silently watched the first star appear, then the second, then the thousandth, was there is no wrong way to raise your child consciously, as long as you are conscious yourself.

Then maybe one day your baby, too, will ask you as you’re getting them ready for preschool,  “Mama, can I wear blue bindi?”

Edited by: Lindsay Friedman


Brooke Kochel has been a yogini of seven years and student of Shiva Rea, I’m a lover of two soul mates: husband and babe.  Jet-setting citizen of the world, foodie and cultural junkie: I’ll try anything twice. She is currently on a farm in Arkansas living off wild game, fish and fowl. Rantings of her satisfied soul can be found on her Yoga/Food/Travel blog, Yogastronomy.

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