​What Being a Yogamama Looks Like for Me

BY Heather Zollman 
May 19, 2018

I started practicing yoga after I had my first baby. So I have only had a personal practice…as a mom. Fast forward 16 years from when I started to now. Today I am a yoga instructor and own a yoga studio and business called…Yoga Mama’Z. It’s been a handful of years since I started Yoga Mama’Z, so now when I venture out in our small, sweet little town I hear…Hey yogamama!…often. I LOVE it! I was on my walk today and a friend drove by, and yelled out the window…Hey there Yogamama!!! It got me thinking…what does this name mean to me?

I feel like when people think about yoga instructors, or people who practice yoga, they think of poses and the physical practice right away. That is the picture people have in their head of yoga. That’s what I thought when I started too. It’s a physical practice that will help make my back feel better…and it did It wasn’t until going through yoga training that I realized that the physical practice was only the tip of the iceberg. Once you start to dive into the whole of yoga, you find out there is so much more!

Each person comes to the mat for a different reason, and continues to return to the mat for different reasons also.

For me, yoga helps to create…BALANCE. Alright, let’s be real here…it’s can be a struggle in this day and age to feel SANE, let alone BALANCED. We live in a fast-paced, instant gratification, technology frenzied world where everything is ultra-connected, yet not connected at all. But…there is so much beauty too! We just have slow down and focus on it.

Yoga has taught me real gratitude. How to breathe. How to let go. How to receive. How to appreciate. How to focus. How to watch my reaction to situations. How to FEEL MORE. How to enjoy MORE. How to live MORE FULLY. Slow down more to connect with God and the universe MORE. How to find beauty in everything! Even spiders!!! (That one came from my yoga teacher) How to be MORE OPEN and ACCEPTING. How to want to KNOW MORE. How to be CURIOUS.

Now how does this factor into being a mom? In every way! I have 2 teenagers and a 9 year old at this point in my life as a mom. It is awesome! It is also frustrating (pull my hair out frustrating sometimes), exciting, tear jerking, joyful, exhausting, lovely, snuggly, don’t look at me or acknowledge me in public-y (yep even from the 9 year old now), scary and every other emotion/feeling under the sun!!! Are you with me moms!?! However old your children are…it’s a mix of everything! Most days you wonder if they will ever know how much you love and adore them and in the same breath wonder if you are completely screwing them up! And don’t get me started on the mom guilt (we just need to let that s*** go!).

I love the physical part of yoga. That’s what brought me to find this amazing practice. But for me and my practice today…give me time to breathe, time to be grateful, time to connect with my spirit…and if I get the physical part in even a little bit, it’s a bonus. When I say time, I mean any time you can give to yourself. 5 breaths, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, while you fold clothes, take a break at work for a seated meditation, enjoy the beauty of nature while on a walk. My point is, yoga is not just done on the mat. I am pretty sneaky at mixing the yoga way of life into my kids’ days without them knowing it or without them stepping on a mat It’s in how they treat others, and when they ask for advice on how to handle situations. (My 16 year old knows everything so he doesn’t need advice…yep;) I see it when they stop to breathe or in how they breathe through different situations. It’s in their being open to others and their compassion. It’s simply a way of life. Do we get it right all the time? Not even close. But do we strive to do our best? Absolutely. But in that doing our best, it isn’t rigid, it flows in and out of balance. We strive for peace within and sending peace out.

You may be reading this and thinking, that’s a nice thought yoga lady, but I don’t have 5 seconds in my day to pee by myself without the bathroom door flying open, the word mom being repeated…loudly…over and over and over and snot being wiped on my shoulder, let alone meditate! I get it. Trust me. I’ve been there. I am in another stage of mom hood with it’s own…stuff. The…I have NO clothes, I need money again today (for the 5th time), what’s for dinner…I don’t like what you made and “what did you learn at school today?”… nothing stage. But also the laughter, the amazing…my kids are so awesome!, I love having the meaty, meaningful conversations stage. My meditation most days . . the 5 deeps breaths at the ballpark sitting in the grass, watching my boy play baseball. Sending him love and light when he’s on the pitcher’s mound and the just breathe honey, you got this. The closing my eyes and listening to my daughter play the uekelele, or piano or singing her heart out with that soulful voice that brings me to tears. . . and feeling FULL gratitude for their gifts. The teaching yoga to kids with my youngest in the class and watching the joy he has with his friends while being silly, and closing his eyes at the end while he rests on a yoga bolster and just breathes. The being in downward dog, and then our fluffy dog, Stanley, comes and joins me on the mat, with his own version of the pose. And the looking at my husband, my life partner and biggest supporter with COMPLETE gratitude towards God/universe for bringing us together to enjoy this amazing yet simple life. It’s those moments where I feel yoga open me up to FULL gratitude for every minute and step of this journey…with all of it’s bumps, large and small. It’s also in the trying times, the “why do I have to go through this?” times where I treasure the slowing down, the YIN time to soak it in and FEEL it. Not push it away.

I am grateful for this practice. I am grateful to be sharing this journey with you. I am grateful to be a REAL LIFE Yogamama.