by Kristin Niemi, STUDIO Founder and mom of 2
Life is funny. Especially parenthood. I find myself so busy go-go-going that I never have time to stop and realize how much I’ve learned along the way.
I started practicing yoga over 10 years ago after some back and heart issues. I was treating myself so poorly that my body was literally yelling at me. My doctor recommended yoga, and after my first class I was hooked. Yoga for me was something that stuck with me, getting me through the physical pain 10 years ago, and then getting me through more hard times 5 years ago after a miscarriage at 12 weeks pregnant (on my 30th birthday nonetheless). With support from my amazing husband and with family and friends by my side, I realized I wanted to take my yoga practice a step further, and 200 hours of training later, I became a certified yoga instructor.
And as yoga became more and more a part of my life, I was still completely missing the amazing lessons it was teaching me along the way. And even still, I haven’t even realized how amazing these lessons would be for my kids to learn too! So while I figure out a way to teach 2 crazy toddlers these 5 amazingly important things below, I’ll tell them to you first.
1 | Breathe
My schedule is so hectic and my to-do list is so jam-packed I find myself literally forgetting to breathe. I’m neglecting myself of a basic human function to instead focus on my domestic duties. That’s just crazy. Luckily, your body will force yourself to breathe, but when you are non-stop your breath can’t catch up. So find a few seconds in your day. Just one second every few hours (I swear, your schedule can spare it), to literally stop and breathe. Novel thought but hard in practice. That deep breath in and out can literally keep yourself go-go-going for the next few hours before you have a chance to stop and breathe again.
2 | Slow Down
This one is so darn hard! My life is a series of meetings on my calendar and items on my to-do list. I don’t have TIME to slow down. When will all those things get done? Well, guess what, they’ll all get done, and it doesn’t have to be right now. When I started saying that to myself, things changed. I realized that the laundry didn’t have to be done right now because I was thinking about it. Guess what. I could do it tomorrow, or even the next day, and the world wouldn’t end. So just because something is top of mind, or right in front of you, or at the top of your to-do list, doesn’t mean you need to get it done right then and there. Slow down. Reprioritize. Breathe. If the kids want to play tag for the seventy millionth time, do that. Not the laundry.
3 | Be Present
I’m so guilty of this one. I focus on what I should have done, or on what’s on my schedule for the week, rather than focusing right here right now. Even on my yoga mat, I’ll be sitting in class thinking about the laundry I need to do, or my work week ahead. But a major pillar of yoga is to truly be present. Here and now on your mat, and nowhere else. The same should be the case when you are with someone. Your significant other. Your kids. Whoever. You should be with them. Not on your phone, or watching TV, or thinking about what to eat for dinner, or about what you should have said to the lady who cut you off. Be there with the people you love, and savor every second.
4 | Let It Go
Tempted to break out in a rendition of Frozen for this one. But how often do you focus on one thing so much that you can’t give it up. Maybe a memory from your past. Or something you wish you did differently. Or a speech you messed up. Or a call you should have answered. Or that growing to-do list. Stop. Inhale and acknowledge all those things rattling around in your head, then on your exhale, let them all go. Let your stress, your worry, your week ahead, your week behind you, your past, your future. Let it all go. There’s never a need to dwell about what was or what may be.
5 | Love Yourself
I read something the other day that said “If I asked you to list what you love, how long would it take to say yourself?” What a novel question, but something that struck me hard. In this day and age, we’re so focused on things and people, that we forget about ourselves. Before, we’d say “Treat others like we’d want to be treated,” but here we are treating ourselves like crap! Self-love isn’t always manis and pedis and massages. It’s going to bed a little early, it’s complimenting yourself in the mirror rather than saying something negative, it’s being grateful about the little things, it’s letting you be you, and not what others think “you” should be.
In a world of devices and social media and whatever else the “kids” are doing these days, what a way to take go back to the basics and use these simple yoga teachings whenever you can. It may mean looking up from Instagram, or putting down that hamper of laundry, or stopping yourself to catch a deep breath. But in the grand scheme of things, aren’t those moments—the one’s where you’re present and breathing and finding love—the most important?
Bumps in the road of life originally brought Kristin Niemi to yoga, and yoga has continued to be a positive constant when ups and downs have happened over the past 9 years. Her practice has welcomed optimism, community, strength, and understanding, and she brings those aspects to her teaching as a 200-hour Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher (RYT).
Mommy to toddler Levi, and baby boy Parker, she has found that the optimism, breath work, focus, and stamina she’s gained from yoga has allowed for strong positivity through pregnancy, birth, and now through sleepless nights! Amidst her busy schedule as a full-time mom, with a full-time job, and teaching yoga part-time, she finds time whenever she can, wherever she is, to practice yoga and bring her boys into the practice that has been so important in her life. Her Instagram profile @studioartyoga focuses on yoga with her #yogaboys, and finding positivity in this crazy thing called life!