On mothering and yoga, in all its forms

I am lucky enough to work with my mum every week, filming our yoga classes together along with a thousand outtakes where we’re tripping over our words or laughing too much to speak. So Mother’s Day feel’s like the perfect time to honour this special part of our relationship.

It's also my sister-in-law Emma’s first Mother’s Day with her nearly 3 week old daughter! It has been so precious to witness this intense mother love from the beginning, to see Emma’s ‘love explosions’ and the absolute devotion to her daughter.

I know not everyone fits into this traditional kind of relationship. But I think that mothering exists within, and around, and between these spaces. It doesn’t need to be gendered or biological or age-related.

What does it mean to mother, practice mothering, or be mothered? To nurture, to care, to protect, to love unconditionally. All of us – as aunties, uncles, siblings, parents, grandparents, pseudo-family, friends, family friends - can act with the principles of mothering. And here’s the biggie: it doesn’t need to be directed at someone else. Self-mothering seems to be a popular term at the moment, which is lovely. I mean it in a very definitional way. Again: to nurture, to care, to protect, to love unconditionally.

Yoga teaches us to turn these actions towards ourselves. We learn to approach ourselves in each posture, in each breath, with this attitude of care. Over time it becomes an intuitive part of the practice, on and off the mat. Every time we use a prop to keep our bodies safe, every time we listen to our breath, lay down in savasana, go for a walk, or have a meal with friends, we are practising the love and nurturing that mothering is all about.

I’m pretty happy to be able to give my mum this gift: for her to know that I can nurture myself with yoga, like she has always taught me, and like we do our best to teach other people.

Happy Mother’s Day to the mothers and the mothering, in whichever forms they take.

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