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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seeking Balance

Just before the holidays, I decided it was time to get back to a regular yoga practice. Of all the exercise regimens I've had in my lifetime, yoga was the only one with real staying power. I took my first class in 1993 and never looked back. In fact, I found a studio in Atlanta the day they were hanging their sign out front. My friend Lindsay and I were students number one and two respectively. In 2000, I completed my first yoga teacher training and later went on to own a yoga studio. When I was pregnant with my son over a decade later, I took prenatal yoga right up until my due date. I can vividly remember that class trying to balance in tree pose with what I can only describe as a giant pregnant belly. What I didn't know then was that our son would arrive two VERY LONG weeks later.

After I received the 'all clear' to exercise post c-section, I began my daily yoga practice. In a matter of weeks I felt myself gaining strength, flexibility and balance. At the time my son was ten weeks old, I went back to work. Working full time with a baby (or any age child or children for that matter) is a challenge in both time and energy management. In my case, something had to give and that "something" was my yoga practice.

It took me more than three years to find my way back to a regular practice, but I'm happy I did. It has what I'm seeking - balance of body and mind, life and work. You get the idea.

So after four hours straight of sitting in meetings, I left the office and headed straight to Hot Yoga Saratoga for 90 minutes of heat, stretching and well, more work. I took a deep breath and followed our teacher Judy's careful instructions. This form of yoga is a quite challenging and tends to attract type-A personalities, which explains why I'm routinely surrounded in class by what I suspect are high performance athletes. While my post-yoga routine is to arrive home, shower, (work), watch Monsters vs. Aliens with our son, read books and head to bed, I picture some of these folks leaving yoga, running 20 miles, drinking a power shake (or eating a wholesome vegetarian meal) and then working on their novels or renovating their homes until dark. In truth, they're probably a lot more like me, and at least one of them has two kids, a husband and a business to run. Some still look like they could accomplish a home renovation after 90 minutes of intense yoga practice.

Tonight's practice was especially rewarding for me. After a day filled with meeting and talk of new product launches, website re-launches, and new and existing strategic partnerships, I was ready for some exercise that could meet me where I was. And Hot Yoga (also called Bikram yoga) did not disappoint. The same series of 26 poses or postures and two breathing exercises is practiced in every class so you can really get a sense of where you are. Although the balancing postures kicked my butt tonight, the really deep back bends felt amazing after sitting in a conference room for most of the day. And the intense heat - we practice at 105+ degrees - felt great today although some days I do want to leave the room screaming for fresh, cool air.

I left class feeling invincible and ready to face another day of more meetings and whatever challenges come my way. In fact, at this very moment I'm perfectly content basking in post-yoga bliss munching on popcorn. As I listen to my son call for me from the family room, I smile knowing it's family time now. It's about balance after all.

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