Keeping the Flame Alive (Even When You Think Your Spark’s Gone Out)

In my life P.B. (pre-baby), I went to yoga class twice a week and practiced at home on my own at least two days a week. Since Lil’s arrival, things have been a little more helter skelter.

After several weeks of doing nothing but taking deep breaths here and there right after she was born, I got back in to a fairly regular routine for the first several months of her life—I practiced or went on a walk during her morning nap. And then, the cute little bugger dropped that morning nap at the ripe old age of nine months. Out of a mixture of grief and desperation (I refused to believe that nap was gone for good and spent a lot of time and energy trying to get her to sleep when she just wasn’t tired), my exercise habits evaporated. It was winter. I was tired. I figured I’d let it all ride until something lit the flame on my desire to get moving.

Here’s what happened: I quickly developed a jelly belly. I also started having a hard time falling asleep. And my body ached. Just as I was getting to the breaking point, I booked myself a massage. The receptionist at the spa asked if I preferred a man or a woman. “I don’t care, I just want someone fantastic,” I said. She thanked me for my flexibility and said I could see Yuri the next day.

A few minutes in to the massage, Yuri asked me, “What do you do?” Groggily, I opened one eye and said, “Do? You mean for work?” And he said “No, no, for body.” (He’s Russian, and his accent is pretty thick.) So I told him I did yoga. (I didn’t tell him about my hiatus.) And then he said, “I ask because your deep tissue is in great shape.”

That’s when I fell in love with him. (Sorry, honey—it was momentary.) Yes, he gave me a great massage, and made me feel like I had a brand new back. But more importantly, he reminded me that when you dedicate yourself to some kind of self-care practice, it works for you even when you’re not moving full steam ahead. The surface of my body may have gotten a little slack, but all those years I spent on the mat prior to that point were patiently holding ground for me beneath the surface. The experience made me realize that whenever I got back in the swing of things I would in no way be starting from zero—and that made it ever so much easier to get back in to a regular practice. (I’m happy to report that I’m now back to practicing—albeit at home—three or four times a week.)

I share this story with you because we humans have a tendency to think in all-or-nothing terms. If we get off track on a healthy endeavor, we think “That’s it, it’s over, pass the chips.” But I’m here to tell you that every self-care practice is going to have its ups and downs. You may get sick, or injured, or have a baby, or get slammed at work, or move, or break-up with someone—it’s not a question of if but when. But if there’s something you do that consistently makes you feel better in your mind, body, and spirit, don’t give up on it when life gets crazy. Set it aside as you need to, but also trust that it will be there for you when you come out the other side. Because sooner or later, you WILL come out the other side. Oh yes, you will.

What are you doing to tend to your “deep tissues”?
What kind of long-term disciplines do you pursue in the name of staying physically healthy, mentally clear, and generally vibrant? Or, is there something you used to do that you’ve let slide that you’d like to get back into? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and if I post your thoughts in the next Vegimental, I’ll send you some kind of goodie from my mind-body grab bag that will help you on your particular path.

Hear MsMindbody on the MojoMom podcast!
I had the pleasure of being interviewed for Amy Tiemann’s Mojo Mom podcast. We talked about the ways your self-care practice has to change when you become a Mom, and how to keep taking care of yourself even when the baby doesn’t nap.
Here it is. (It’s in the second half of the show.)

Congrats (again) to Amanda Guccione!
She wrote in with a hilarious comment about what she was not going to do in order to create a little more downtime in her life, and I forgot to include it in the last Vegimental. Silly me.

“This week, I’m NOT going to read The New Yorker. I’m sorry New Yorker, I love you and I love the wit and wisdom you bring into my life. But sometimes you sit and stare at me and cause a panicky sensation to rise up in my chest because I’m still reading you from last week and already (!) you are back again. So this week I’m going to allow myself to put you in the recycling bin. I’m not going to feel guilty, and instead I’m going to rock out to some great music on my commute in the morning and take a leisurely stroll home in the evening. And that’s OK!”

Take care and keep breathing,


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One thought on “Keeping the Flame Alive (Even When You Think Your Spark’s Gone Out)

  1. Hello Kate,
    I am only able to access 3 retromentals. How do I access others previous to August? I want to share one of them with some friends. The one I am searching for is the one where you talk about having a thought passing thru your mind and acting on it as you’re thinking about it and not leaving it until later. Can you help? Thank you so much. Bettina PS That vegimental has helped me tremendously so that now when my inner self is telling me to do something, I do it !

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