Book review: The Mama Sutra: A Story of Love, Loss, and the Path of Motherhood, by Anne Cushman
Updated: May 13, 2020
Anne Cushman’s memoir is a POWERFUL reminder that parenthood is not something that keeps us from practicing mindfulness, from a meditation practice, or even from asana. But that parenting IS a yoga practice.
I have spent sooooo much time in the past 11 months feeling bad about “letting my practice slip.” I PROMISED myself I would NOT be a mom who stopped practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation. I would NOT stop going to classes and jams nor stop teaching yoga and acroyoga. And then the reality of being the full time mom of a busy little baby hit. Just about the time my body was healed enough to start training again, around 4 months postpartum, baby Moose surprised his dad and me by learning to crawl. I often feel that none of us has stopped for a breath since then. Anne Cushman’s memoir is a POWERFUL reminder that parenthood is not something that keeps us from practicing mindfulness, from a meditation practice, or even from asana. But that parenting IS a yoga practice:
“That’s what this period of time is like - an endless meditation retreat. It has all the elements: the long hours of silent sitting; the walking back-and-forth going nowhere; the grueling schedule and sleep deprivation; the hypnotic, enigmatic chants... and at the center of it, of course, is the crazy wisdom teacher in diapers,...”
She also points out that if women and mothers had been the traditional keepers of yoga, rather than celibate men, these similarities would not seem novel, nor would we need reminding of the yoga of parenthood.
”Family life grinds your nose in the truth of annica, impermanence. Because even if everything goes perfectly, you eventually lose everything.… But along the way, you gain the whole world.”
Full of real talk wisdom, gut wrenching honesty, and the gory details of the full life of a yogini, meditator, teacher, traveler, writer, wife, ex-wife, daughter, and mother, this book has completely changed the way I view the daily grind of parenting. It has helped me to orient toward more realistic expectations of myself and my mothering practice. I’m so glad to have found it.
It is especially poignant for mothers, but truly a great read for anyone because it is also a reminder that ANYTHING, any situation, any experience, any phase of life can be yoga when we approach it with an attitude of presence and awareness.
Have you read The Mama Sutra? Maybe with a book club or mothers’ group? What was your take-away?
How do you see parenting as a mindfulness practice?
Let us know your thoughts and keep the conversation going!