My mom was always such a great influence on me.
I remember practicing yoga alongside her when I was just two years old—we made crazy animal noises as we made our way through the poses. Along with yoga, one of my favorite activities as a child was playing house. I especially wanted to play the mom. I remember being so upset when my hair was cut short, and my friends made me be “dad” until my hair grew back.
Throughout my life I’ve always cared for children. Whether they were dolls or actual kids, I dreamt of the day I would have a baby of my own. I have also wanted to and have been a teacher, and have tried to continually be a good influence to the children around me. Yoga, in the past few years has really given me the tools to take both teaching and caring for others to a whole new level.
About two years ago I found myself in a rut. I was feeling lost and without purpose. I knew that there was more for me than I was experiencing in life and I wanted it, but didn’t know how to get it. I have learned in life to ask for help when I need it, so I did. One of my best friends, a wonderful yoga teacher and someone who knows me very well, steered me back to yoga. We both recognized that I had been neglecting my practice for some time. Venturing back into the world of yoga reignited my love for the yoga lifestyle. I felt passion again, I felt purpose and direction! Over a short amount of time I realized that I wanted yoga to play a much bigger role in my life, not just as a student, but also as a teacher. I was so excited and felt deeply that doing a teacher training program would set me on the path that I was meant to walk.
With my eyes and my heart wide open I asked the universe for further guidance about what was next for me.
I couldn’t have known that I would be answered so powerfully and immediately. Within days of deciding to take a teacher training course, and totally by accident, I found a wonderful yoga school called Anamaya, online. This amazingly beautiful place drew me in through the computer screen and I could feel the healing and nourishing energy drawing me all the way to Costa Rica.
From this moment on, every little thing easily slid into place. Things that might normally be distressing such as; giving up my apartment, getting laid off and ending a relationship all occurred and they felt natural and right. Within two months I was on my way to Costa Rica and to my new and improved life.
The teacher training program at Anamaya was more than I ever could have hoped for. I met the most amazing people and learned so much about myself, yoga and life in general. Through out my month there I had the opportunity to be supported by my peers and to be there for them as well. I could feel the teacher in me beginning to surface from the depths inside, where it had been hiding for the past few years. I was able to open up and expose all of the things that had been holding me back. I even discovered that I had buried my urges to become a mother, not wanting to raise a child in a place where I felt uninspired and lost. Through the support of my peers and also by offering my support in return, I was reminded of the true me. The me that loves all people, that listens and shares openly, the me that wants to be a mother more than anything else.
The yoga teacher training literally changed my life on many levels.
During my month of training and growth it became very clear to me that I wanted a big change in my life. Over the next months I made some giant leaps and decided to move full-time to Costa Rica and plant my roots into some new soil.
Everything that needed to happen to facilitate this change in my life flowed like it was meant to be. Within two months of making this big decision I was living in Costa Rica and working at Anamaya! I began working with the guests to ensure they had a beautiful experience through yoga and exploration of our area. Meeting and teaching to so many new people from around the world was such an exciting and fulfilling experience. Every single day I felt that I was fulfilling my every wish in life; to teach and to care for others. There was one wish though that remained in the dream stage – a child of my own.
Now let me tell you that there is a whole other story that runs alongside this one, a romance as you may have guessed. The collision of these two stories brings us to the present day. This is the day that I can excitedly announce that “I am going to be a mother!”
I have never been more happy, though the first few weeks of this journey have not gone exactly as planned.
Something unusual prompted me to go to the clinic and see my doctor. The news he had for me after his examination was almost the last thing I wanted to hear. I was to rest. No yoga. No running, no exercise of any kind. My reaction was something like; “What?!! How is that even possible when I have to teach a class, finish painting my kitchen and unpack my entire house”? I was in disbelief that this could be true. My concern for the tenderness and vulnerability of my baby was at the forefront of my mind of course, but this meant big changes in my lifestyle, for at least the next eight months or so.
I immediately had to find someone to cover my vinyasa classes for the retreats at Anamaya and quit doing my personal practice at home. I had been counting on yoga to keep me sane during my pregnancy; the body changes, the hormones and everything in between. How was I going to do this without yoga?
I let this bother me for a short time until a calm came over me and I suddenly realized that I was being silly. If my doctor had known more about yoga he may have said, “do not continue to do an active asana practice” rather than not to do yoga anymore. Had he known what many of us know to be yoga, he simply would have asked me not to participate in one tiny component of this amazingly large practice that I now live my life by.
I have known and lived many parts of yoga, I can’t believe I had let this news of rest shake me. There was living my life by the yamas and niyamas, there was pranayama and meditation. There was the memory of my training and the continued support of all of my fellow students. All of these wonderful practices that are truly more important to me than my asana practice were all still available. These relaxing, calming and grounding practices were not only possible during pregnancy, but incredibly beneficial to both me and my unborn child.
Having this realization has really opened my eyes to the meaning of being humble and being where you are when it comes to personal practice. It takes me back to the days when I was reintroduced to yoga, and how the love and support from others as well as from within can be so powerful. It’s so easy to tell students not to compete with others or themselves but until you are in a position where your hands are tied; true and complete acceptance of this isn’t really possible.
Even though I haven’t been able to do a physical asana practice for almost five months now, I find that I am living yoga more thoroughly than ever. I am more at peace, happier and full of love than I can ever remember being. I am continuing to teach restorative yoga, sharing my love of this quiet practice with others, as well as making retreat reservations for guests at Anamaya. I feel as though I have come a complete circle…almost.
The day I have my little one beside me on the mat mooing like a cow will be a happy day indeed.
Editor: Tanya Lee Markul
Mandy Lawson is a yoga teacher and writer for Anamaya Resort & Retreat Center in Costa Rica. Canadian born she has opted for a warmer environment to raise her family and live out her yoga dreams. For more information about Anamaya or to read her blogs please visit her here. You can also contact Mandy at Google +.