susie howell yoga

My own Awakening and Re-birth into Motherhood

By Susie Howell – Ibiza Retreat Co-Director
I hope you’re all enjoying a lovely, extended Easter Weekend?
Depending on your belief system, Easter is either the story of the crucifixion then resurrection of Christ, or it’s a Pagan Festival celebrating Spring in the Northern hemisphere OR it’s simply all about delicious chocolate eggs right?
But apart from those ideologies, for many of us it signifies the end of Winter and hibernation and the beginning of something new – of fresh new energies. It signifies an awakening and a re-birth – Or, in my case, an actual birth.
So this feels like a poignant and rather fitting time to talk about my experience of giving birth (not meaning details of the actual birth – don’t worry!) and how much it challenged me and therefore changed me.
It’s about my own re-birth into being a Mum and how I’ve had to break through old patterns and beliefs to embrace my new role of Motherhood.
When you have a baby – all your focus during your pregnancy is about the birth. This one event which you are preparing yourself for mentally, emotionally and physically. And then the birth bit happens (inevitably!) and you get through it and you’re like “wow that was intense! Phew, I’m glad that’s over”.
And then the reality dawns on you that this is actually where is all starts…
I woke up on the morning after I’d given birth and I immediately had the absolute realisation that I was not the same woman I’d been when I’d gone to sleep. It was a strange mix of emotions. I of course felt love and the desire to protect. But I also felt raw and incredibly over-whelmed.
I felt a huge sense of responsibility and I felt fear.
These challenging experiences, that we all encounter throughout life are triggers. And life is a rainbow full of challenging experiences, no matter who you are.
Whether it’s a birth, bereavement, break-up, break down (or as we like to call it a break THROUGH) or anything which, in turn, triggers the physical and emotional stress response in our nervous systems.
This is where the adrenaline and cortisol are released and your nervous system becomes over-activated to the point where the fight, flight or freeze response kicks-in.
This is exactly where I found myself in the midst of the joy… mixed with a heady concoction of hormones and sleep deprivation and I knew I had to dig deep.
I had to find some courage and strength and put a plan into place.
This is where I feel so much gratitude for the path I have chosen and all the teachers I have learnt from along the way through Ibiza Retreats.
With all the tools and techniques that we teach on retreat, it was now the time to walk my talk. And almost six months on, this is a daily practice which helps me stay grounded and to accept where I am each day – to be the best Mum I can be.
For me it was essential to create a daily ritual. A practise which was constant when all around me felt out of control.
On every single one of our retreats, we talk about the importance of cultivating this ritual. A ritual is a gentle commitment, a ritual is grounding and it has roots. Ritual is calming, nourishing and ritual is comforting. And it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here are some suggestions which really helped me to find my ‘inner warrior’ and to embrace being a mama. You can adjust to suit your lifestyle, and to support you in whatever your own ‘re-birth’ role is…
– Build your altar. Create a space for yourself which feels safe and calm. Make it sensory – we suggest a scented candle of your favourite oils. Make it comfortable with cushions and a yoga mat for example. Make it inspiring with a favourite quote or coloured scarf to adorn it. When you wake every morning, go to your altar – even if it’s just for five minutes before you speak to anyone else or start your day. It might mean setting your alarm for five minutes earlier, but the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice of this.
– Drink tea! Take a herbal infusion with you (rather than caffeine as it’s a stimulant) to wake your system naturally
– Breathe! Take long deep breathes into your belly. Inhaling love, gratitude and positivity and exhaling anything which is not serving you including any negativity or negative thoughts or feelings.
Literally exhale and breathe them out of your system. Visualise waking up your entire being by focusing on breathing into each part of your body – beginning with your toes and working your way up to your ankles, knees, thighs, hands arms, spine, shoulders, neck, throat and face. This will help you to calm your thoughts and keep the monkey mind at bay.
– Move your body. Whether you are an experienced yoga practitioner or not, this practise is not about advanced postures, but about listening to your intuition (that quieter voice inside you) and shifting your energy.
With your eyes closed, move and stretch your body in the way that feels right. Of course you can transition into a full yoga practise here if you wish, but this is more about the subtleties. See if you can feel your way into the day and make space in your breath, your body and your mind to be in a place of response, rather than reaction.
– Set your intention (sankalpa) for the day – even if it’s a small intention. Keep it positive and keep it clear. For me, it was about my ability to be a good mother, so I made my intention to be kind with my thoughts about myself.
– Repeat a mantra! I used a  tapping technique. The Thymas gland is 7 centimetres under the hole at the base of the throat.
Tap “I love myself, I believe in myself, I trust myself, I am grateful to myself and I am courageous”. I added my personal mantra – “I am a wonderful mother”.
You tap this as many times as you need and it acts like a door into your subconscious until it becomes a true belief! It’s incredibly powerful.
For this tapping practise I have to say a heartfelt Thank You to our lovely Shamabala. Those of you who have been on retreat with us may well have had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful soul and her inspiring workshop on Meridean Energy Tapping.
And in the words of Rumi… ACCEPT. Each day will bring something new and each emotion will pass – just like the seasons.
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, 
some momentary awareness comes 
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”
– Jalaluddin Rumi