Living yoga off the mat with Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
This blog series is a reflection on how incredible yogis are living yoga off the mat – taking the powerful and ancient principles of yoga into their world.
Meet Amy Taylor-Kabbaz
AKA ‘Happy Mama with Amy’. The first time I came across Amy, a friend – Tara Bliss – linked to her facebook page. I was immediately struck by Amy’s authenticity and honesty around motherhood. Yet she managed to take the edge off the ‘intensity’ of what is otherwise, well, an INCREDIBLY intense experience.
I was pregnant at the time, but now, with a 7 month old baby, I LOVE Amy’s blend of spirituality, realness and honest acceptance of this crazy-ass ride.
So, to have Amy here today to share how she lives yoga off the mat (because truthfully, as mama, getting on your mat is about as sacred as shaving your legs – both aren’t easy to make happen!) well, I feel honoured. And I know you will just devour her insight. Mama or not, there is more than one golden nugget in here for you.
Finish this sentence:
My yoga practice is… my sanity! As a busy mama to three, yoga is my absolute sacred space where I get to breathe, reconnect and recalibrate. How I practice that sacred space, and how often I do, has dramatically changed over the years though. At the moment, I get to rush out the door once a week leaving the three little ones in the bath with my husband and get to a life-affirming Kundalini class, and the rest of the time it’s me, my mat, and my 5am alarm clock… as long as the baby doesn’t decide to join me.
To me, yoga means… peace. If I’m not careful, my mind will run a million miles an hour a million times a day. My go-to mode for most of my life has been overachieving superwoman, and even now, after years of mindfulness and meditation, my brain will still switch into this mode if I’m not careful. Yoga helps me be careful. Even though rebuilding my over-stretched and over-exhausted body through yoga has been important after each of my births, it is the spiritual and mental connection that I really crave. (Besides, keeping a semi-clean house with a 7, 5 and 1 year old is enough exercise, thank you very much.)
My experience off the mat has… led me to understand my connection with the divine. It’s on my mat that I discovered that I don’t need to know all the answers, I just need to let them flow through me. It’s on my mat that I have forgiven those who have hurt me, and seen how to love unconditionally those I have judged – including myself. And it’s on my mat I finally find that little piece of peace that I crave when juggling children, marriage, and my business. When I roll that mat out, something happens… the actual physical act of rolling the mat out helps. Even if I only get three minutes on there before one of my children interrupt, the mat makes a difference. I think as Mamas, we need symbols and rituals to help us feel like we’re actually doing something for ourselves. It helps us be more mindful.
The biggest shift/epiphany/moment of insight I’ve ever had during yoga was… It may not be the biggest epiphany, but it’s the most recent: In the last few months, I’ve received a book deal to write the ‘Happy Mama’ book for new (and not so new) mamas. This is, without doubt, my greatest dream come true. But as we all know, just because we’ve been dreaming about it since we were little girls, does not make it an easy thing to accept when it finally happens. Fear, insecurities, imposter syndrome and just good ol’ procrastination have kicked in, and old patterns have reared their ugly head.
But it was on my yoga mat, at the end of my kundalini class and after a fear clearing krya, that I finally connected with my truth. With tears rolling down my cheeks, I saw and heard a very clear voice tell me : “you’re ready.” Since then, I have felt a calm that is completely new. I know that this is beyond my knowledge or my doing, and I am simply the messenger. And, I feel ready.
Quick Fire Questions
What are the lessons you carry on a daily basis, off your mat? Mindfulness. The ability to stay in the moment, stop buying into the negative thoughts in my head, and see things for what they really are carries me through every tantrum, every deadline, every moment of overwhelm.
Why are these important to you? Because without them, I am a super cranky mama! In all seriousness, when I’m ‘all in my head’, everything falls apart.
What yogic principle have you translated for yourself – what, how and why? Svadhyaya – Self-study. ‘Become the expert of you’ has been a big part of my journey in recent years. As a journalist, I have spent years interviewing and writing about other people’s opinions, always believing that someone else had the answers. But when I stopped looking outside myself and instead starting creating a practice of studying myself and my own answers, my life began to change.
What does ‘Living Your Yoga’ mean to you? Taking the ‘aha’ moments I have on my mat into my everyday life. Being mindful with my children, and not just on my mat. Being grateful for the lessons in my life, being present, staying connected to something greater than me when I’m going about my day, and not just once a week in my kundalini class. It’s a challenge! But it’s what helps me be a better mama, wife, coach, friend and woman.