Lessons Learned from Yoga that Support Parenting

When I think back to my teen years and early twenties, it boggles my mind that I was able to maintain the lifestyle I did. I moved fast, stayed up late, worked a high-intensity job in the film industry, lived on caffeine and cigarettes, and partied a lot. I was young and didn’t have kids. I was still a kid myself in a lot of ways, but when I got an ulcer, I knew it was time to make some adjustments. Or more accurately, my older sister told me I needed to.

Late one night, in a steamy room in Santa Monica, my sister, Jennifer, took me to my first power yoga class. I had done asana many times up to that point, but it was mostly on video at home or in gym settings. I had never done fast-paced and strong yoga like this. Sweat was pouring out of me from my first Downward-Facing Dog, and even though it was ten at night when class got out, I was buzzing. It was the best I had felt in years, and after just a few weeks of attending classes almost every day, I quickly became aware of the discordances between my old life and my desired new one.

Naturally, as someone with an addictive personality, I overcorrected at first. Rather than going out drinking five nights a week and chain-smoking all day, I discovered Ashtanga yoga and centered my entire life around it to the point that I had no room for anything or anyone else. Instead of living on microwaveable meals, I became so austere about my food choices that I decided I should be vegan and gluten free (even though I’ve never been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance). Also, it is worth noting that I am naturally anemic; multiple providers have begged me to eat meat. Not to mention that I was still actively bulimic during this period, so despite my strict “healthy” diet Monday to Friday, when Saturday or Sunday would roll around, I continued to binge and purge, which many times included over-exercising like doubling up on super strong movement classes.

I managed to get away with this “healthy” lifestyle for years, but as I began assisting and eventually leading teacher trainings, I started educating myself more deeply on the study of Ayurveda and I realized that just because my choices appeared good on paper or worked for others did not mean they were the right choices for me or my body. The clearest indicators that things were amiss were my high anxiety, insomnia, extraordinarily dry skin and hair, my quick-to-anger impulses (particularly on Los Angeles’s freeways), and my absentmindedness and lightning speed, which led to multiple car accidents on those same aforementioned freeways.

It also included my constantly upset tummy and hypersensitivity to everything around me. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the fact that I hadn’t had a menstrual cycle in years.

As I sat in a lecture on Ayurveda one training, the master teacher listed off these very traits. She said that people who experience this are likely “vata types” and that when these traits were active, it was actually an indicator that the person was off balance. She spoke of the fact that many of us are attracted to the very things that send us off balance (hence my love for Ashtanga yoga and caffeine), but that in the Ayurveda system, opposites are what heal.

Over time, with the help of friends who intensively study Ayurveda and many, many books on the matter, I started to course correct. I adjusted my eating, adding in way more fats and oils and reintroducing meat. (Please note, I’m not advocating that you eat similarly. These were just the changes I needed to make at that point in time.) I adjusted my asana, favoring a much more grounded and slower pace to my obsessive and austere Ashtanga yoga habit. I started to let in a little more pleasure, including dating.

Sarah Ezrin wearing grey yoga clothes practicing yoga pose with children

Fatefully, my menstrual cycle returned right before I met my husband (like, literally weeks before), and I was able to get pregnant and give birth to two healthy boys. I am no expert on the subject of Ayurveda, but even the little that I practice has helped me find the balance I have been seeking my entire life.
Ayurveda is an incredibly rich and extensive subject that people dedicate their entire lives to following and understanding. I have barely scraped the surface’s surface in my studies thus far, but it has given me a lens through which I can understand myself more deeply.

Something as simple as paying attention to when I should stop consuming caffeine during the daytime so I don’t disrupt my sleep can have a tremendous effect on my overall well-being and my relationship with my kids.

My practices of Ayurveda and yoga have helped me be a better parent, because when I feel my best, I parent my best.

Yoga of Parenting Book Cover

The Yoga of Parenting

From The Yoga of Parenting by Sarah Ezrin © 2023. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO. www.shambhala.com

Stay Informed & Inspired

Stay informed and inspired with the best of the week in Los Angeles, etc. and more ...

Stay informed & Inspired

Stay Informed & Inspired

Stay informed and inspired with the best of the week in Los Angeles, etc. and more ...

Stay informed & Inspired