Usually I try to do my 30 minutes of yoga before the kids get up in the morning. Sometimes I do it during the PBS time after lunch. On weekend mornings, though, I usually do it while the kids are eating breakfast. But that doesn't always lend itself to introspection and concentration.
It cracks me up that yoga has become a trendy pastime for busy women looking for some time of their own. I could achieve the total mind-body-spirit consciousness if I were doing the ansanas in a wall-less room at the top of a mountain, with nothing but chimes and the wind to distract me. The living room during after breakfast on a Saturday morning, however, is a different matter.
I sit cross-legged and close my eyes to focus on my breathing. Maia toddles in. "Hi, Mama! Yoga?" She sits next to me and crosses her ankles. I peek at her and see she has put the backs of her hands on her knees and closed her eyes. She peeks at me and giggles.
2. Upward-facing dog and cat poses
I'm on my knees and hands, flexing my back. Maia stands on my feet and says, "Horsey!" which is her way of asking for a ride. She tries to pull herself up on my back as I focus on my breathing.
3. Child pose, modified (forehead on arms)
I rest on my heels and put my head on my arms. "Yee-YEAH!" shrieks Maia, at last able to sit on my back and pretend to ride off into the living room.
4. Downward-facing dog pose
I jostle Maia off my back and balance on my hands and feet, pushing my elbows toward my knees and concentrating on getting my heels to reach the ground (just half an inch to go!). Maia giggles with glee and executes a perfect down-dog, then collapses in laughter.
5. Mountain pose
I stand, focusing on feeling grounded. Maia stands in front of me, facing me, and tries not to laugh at my serious face.
6. Tree pose
I carefully put my right leg on my left knee and put my hands in the prayer position in front of my heart chakra. Maia copies me, breathing through her nose, and falls over after three seconds. I am impressed. John comes in and says, "Yoga? Cool!" and walks out.
7. Triangle pose
My least favorite. As I struggle to bend, Maia stands with her legs apart and windmills her upper body, tongue hanging out, making a "blaaa, blaaa, blaaa" noise.
8. Warrior I
I reach for the ceiling. Maia stands on tip toes and says, "Up high! Up high! Down low!"
9. Forward bend
I bend over to reach for my toes. "Down low!" Maia says again. "Yeah!" I touch my toes, possibly for the first time since 1989.
10. Warrior II
I bend into Warrior II, reaching for our map of Russia, 1792-1916, that covers the wall in the living room. It's hard for Maia to hold this pose, but she points as well, and says, "Over dere!"
11. Hip-flexor exercises
These are non-traditional poses that strengthen my hip flexors and my back. I just kind of throw them in there. One consists of resting on my sitting bones (as opposed to my tailbone) with my legs bent and feet off the ground, arms stretched out straight. Maia does a V-sit as I struggle to keep my feet off the floor. Show-off.
12. Forward bend, sitting
I sit with my legs out straight. Maia sits on my legs. I push her off. She gets back on. "No, Maia," I say. "It's yoga time, not sit-on-lap time." Hollers. Threats of tears. I push her off one last time and make a desperate reach for my feet, hooking the first joint of my middle fingers over the first joint of my big toes. I breathe 10 times. Maia counts with me.
13. Knees to chest
On my back, I bring my knees to my chest. Maia says "Hee! Hee! Heeeeeeeeee." Her face peers over my knees as she tries to climb on my legs. "Eh-pain! Eh-pain!" I have to tell her that now is not time to play airplane.
14. Spine twist
Maia sits on my knees to keep them grounded. Bouncing doesn't help, though.
15. Corpse pose
I lie quietly on my back, eyes closed, convinced that Maia is going to come over and belly-flop onto my third chakra. She does. So much for savasana.