Hatha Mindfulness Uncategorized Yoga

Maintaining Composure as a Parent: Yogini Hayagriva

June 19, 2013

Yogini Hayagriva with Child, India 11th Cen.
The Art Institute of Chicago


Maintaining Composure as a Parent and Householder

This image conveys grace and softness. As mothers, it is often challenging to maintain composure when taking care of children. The demanding chores of raising children and keeping a home, take a toll and can leave us feeling depleted. Practicing yoga, the postures–hatha yoga, and meditation, bring equilibrium and balance.


If we don’t give to ourselves by taking care of our well-being, then we cannot take care of others.

Yogini translates as female practioner of yoga. Hayagriva means the “horse-necked one.” This goddess sits on an animal in a graceful posture, lalitasana, supporting her child with one arm. Both mother and child have horse’s heads.

In Hinduism, Hayagriva is an avatar of the god Vishnu and considered to embody knowledge and wisdom. Symbolically Hayagriva represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by God, over the forces of passion and darkness. We are all tempted to treat ourselves with disrespect. The challenges of daily living make it hard to balance time we give to our self. Yoga practice connects us to our bodies, and thus to our bodily wisdom, if it is done mindfully.

Try assuming this lovely asana called lalitasana, the pose of royal ease. Sit with your left leg bent with your sole on your inner thigh, and the top of your right foot gently resting on the floor. You may notice a sense of ease and grace as your spine becomes aligned in this pose. This asana is similar to a half lotus pose, but sitting on a chair, cushion, or bench allows the right leg and foot to drape down, without the strain that sitting in lotus pose can have on the knees. May all mothers’ feel this sense of comfort. Take this pose throughout the day when you feel restless and distracted. Even a few moments will help ground you so you can return to the tasks at hand with a bit more calmness. A few minutes of mindful breathing in this pose will enhance the experience.

The horse head on the voluptuous human body reminds me that we are composed of many aspects in our being. Being a loving parent will look different at different times and stages of your life. Practicing yoga and meditation on a regular basis will help keep you limber and supple in mind, body, and spirit. We need this suppleness to stay open to the many ways life brings us into contact with our own darker natures.

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