17 November 2021No Comments

Postpartum: pain is our friend

One of the most conspicuous changes after the birth of a child, especially if it's your first, is that you go from being an independent person to being at the beck and call of a tiny human. Often we don't have time and space to do what we did before to soothe our nerves. Whether it was meditation, running, playing the piano or having a quiet chat with our partner – in the beginning, there's hardly any time for it.

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20 May 2019No Comments

Forty days after baby

In yogic circles, setting an intention isn't the same as a new year's resolution. It doesn't mean bending over backwards to reach my goal. You formulate your intention in the privacy of your mind and leave it at that. Still, something within re-aligns. It's like the act of unfurling the sail on the mast. Then all there's left to do is to wait for the wind to blow in the right direction. And one day, you just take off.

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10 June 2018No Comments

The baby mirror – how they pick up on your vibe

Have you ever wondered why we intuitively sing to our babies? And why it seems to calm them down? In order to produce a melody, we have to steady our breath. You can't sing if you're winded. Calming our breath automatically soothes our nervous system. When we are calm, our babies mirror that state. I know, this sounds like one of those touchy-feely statements. If you're the scientific type and don't believe in subtle energies, you're probably rolling your eyes right now. But this is not just the hormonal mom in me talking. Maybe babies are proof that subtle energy is real.

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12 December 2017No Comments

Creating space

Midwives, doulas, everyone who works with pregnant women will tell you that two weeks before the baby is due you should start your maternity leave. Cancel all your appointments, stop working, stop making plans. Make space. This includes space to connect with the little one and making space for it to come through you and into this world. The belief is that if your mental and physical space is too cluttered, the baby won't come. Or the birth will be rocky. Or you won't feel ready.

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12 November 2017No Comments

Motherhood moves mountains

All the way to the gate I cried. In the middle of the homeland security madness, someone had stopped to think about motherhood. Someone had taken a moment and had seen behind the passport number.

A kindness shown in a place that usually has no room for soft spots. I think I have never seen that happen before.

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18 August 2017No Comments

It’s about the experience

*one of my favorite ways to feel sensation these days: warrior two with a forward fold, keeping the right knee from falling inwards.

Forced to my knees

I haven't been able to practice much for weeks now. The first trimester of pregnancy is a bitch. I'm sorry, there's no other way to say it. At least, it seems to be for me. Morning sickness, also known as nausea that lasts all day, coupled with fatigue have forced me to my knees. But there's a silver lining. Because after more than one year of working non-stop and rarely taking a breather, I was finally forced to slow down.

Having reached week fourteen, the other day I was finally able to practice for a luxurious half hour. I enjoyed the feeling of stretching my muscles after a prolonged period of forced Savasana (corpse pose). I could feel my connective tissue creaking like a door that hasn't been opened in a while.

I thought to myself: Where have I been? And I didn't mean these last weeks of low blood pressure and retching. I was thinking of all these months of throwing my work-life-balance to the winds. How many times have I just rushed through poses, hardly able to stay for five breaths? How many times have I practiced just to get it over with? How many times have I been physically in a pose but elsewhere with my thoughts?

There are times when I doubt that yoga can still capture my attention: Maybe I should find something else to do recreationally. Teaching yoga is what I do for a living. It's almost everywhere, every waking moment. Maybe I need something new in order to be fully absorbed by it.

It's about the experience within

But one of my teachers often used to say: Don't go horizontal, go vertical. When you think you've seen it all, don't look around you, go deeper. I was reminded of his words during this first practice after some time. Even though my son was playing next to me and chattering away, I was in it, not next to it. I was immersed in the experience. I enjoyed every breath, even if the poses were strenuous after this time of lethargy.

I'm amazed that this could happen to me. Most yogis are sensation junkies, and I'm no exception. We love to experience the stretch, the pull, the opening. Letting ourselves feel sensation has the power to stop the thoughts from going in circles. It's the most recreative thing. I'm surprised that I've lost touch with that. And it's not the first time either.

Even though I came to yoga after twenty years of dancing and already had the coordination and flexibility, it was still a challenge. I had to work hard on building core and upper body strength and stability. Yoga is quiet, sutble work. I learned to focus on the inner workings of the body and mind. Learning to truly listen was a revelation to me.

And because it was so life-changing, I am surprised that connecting with the body can sometimes move into the background. Especially when I have always advocated that yoga is about the experience on the inside, not about getting better and bendier on the outside.

Why do we lose sight of the experience?

Something tells me that this can happen to all of us. Sometimes we turn into a yoga-robot and just go through the motions. We all lead busy lives or become lazy or distracted. It is easy for our yoga practice to become just another item to check off on our to do list.

For most of this year I was working non-stop and feeling weighed down by responsibility. Because yoga is what I do for a living I had to do a little bit, just to prep for classes. But my heart wasn't in it. Which now feels like a loss. Responsibility takes away from creativity or simply from the experience.

So I find myself being grateful for the nausea and my limbs that feel like lead. In a way, it was lucky there was something to slow me down. Now I can take in the world again. Particularly the microcosm that helps me cope with the macrocosm around me.

17 April 2017No Comments

The Courage To Be Frail

Today I went to see my godchild. She is 6 days old – a little snip of a tiny human. A little bundle, utterly helpless, yet with the power to make me speechless (that doesn't happen often). I was touched to see the little family – now of four – and honored to be one of the first visitors. I've never been a godmother before. I never dreamed it would make me feel so special, to know a dear friend wants me to be a significant part of her daugher's life.

And yet, I came away with a sense of sadness and longing. I didn't understand. Could it be that I was jealous? But I didn't feel jealous. My heart is full to the brim with happiness for them and gratitude for my own family. Could it be that, my son being two and a half years old now, I was starting to sense the pressure of society's dictate that a family is incomplete with less than two children? I'm happy to admit that this dictate may be a product of my imagination. But seriously, people always ask whether you're thinking of a second. And if they don't ask with words, they ask with their interrogating looks. But I have never felt rushed before. Our son was anything but planned, and I have always felt it was only natural for me to take my time before I might potentially decide to do this again. Or is it just my biological clock ticking? It has never ticked before. Some women have always known that they wanted children. I never knew. It just happened to me. It was the best thing that ever happened to me, but honestly, I never heard a tick tock.

So then why was I sad? I felt somehow deficient. Like there was something I should have done, but I missed my boat. Then I realized what I felt. The very thing I keep going on and on about in my prenatal yoga classes: We need to allow ourselves to soften and become vulnerable. We need to give ourselves time and space, because it is an incredibly delicate transition. And we need to be frail, to open up and let that little being get under our skin. And how long has it been since I have allowed myself to be anything but strong and on top of things? Ages.

Again, maybe this is my imagination, and I just keep blaming it on society. But I do feel like the world expects a young working mom to perform and keep all the balls up in the air. In Switzerland, the time that is legally set for maternity leave is 14 weeks. (There is no legal obligation for an employer to offer paternity leave, by the way). So we get a couple of weeks before delivery and a few weeks after that to rest and nurse and – you know – do the warm and mushy thing called mothering. For that time, the world will cut us some slack. Then you put your tough shell back on and go back out.

Don't get me wrong. I very much enjoyed going back to work. It was wonderful to slip back into the skin of the yoga teacher. I'm so grateful for the stimuli my work offers me. And yet, I can't help resent that we are not allowed more time to soften, to prepare for the biggest change in a person's life and to just be for a while. Experts say, it takes as long as the pregnancy lasted for a full recovery. Yes, that would be nine months to a year. In Taiwan, many women quit the moment the stick turns blue. The process of transformation starts then. Not two weeks before giving birth when you can no longer sleep and have to pee every half hour. And I believe it is a process that deserves more than just five minutes of our attention.

So, I am sad. I didn't cut myself enough slack. I was self-employed. Six weeks after giving birth I was teaching again. And you know what? I cannot blame society. Being a mom means being a lionness as well. While we may feel vulnerable during pregnancy and shortly after giving birth, we also develop some fierce protective instincts. We simply have to gather the courage to say: “I want this time off. I don't have a problem being the opposite of a superwoman for once in my life. I want time to settle into this new life situation, to be there for my family.” I cannot blame anyone else for not cutting myself more slack. I have a voice. I could have roared.

And maybe I'm afraid there won't be another chance.

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© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni |
All rights reserved | AGB| Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni | All rights reserved | AGB | Kontakt & Newsletter

© Copyrights 2022-2023 | Elisa Malinverni
All rights reserved | AGB | Kontakt & Newsletter