I always wanted to be a mom, yet when my daughter was born I was anxious, I felt trapped and completely incompetent. I found myself wanting to escape from the one thing I had always known I wanted to be.
I went into motherhood thinking I was prepared and ready. I had so many tools to help me through what I knew would be a big transition and a challenge. I had been practicing yoga and meditation for 13 years and teaching adults and children for over 7 years. I had attended and supported many laboring moms as a doula and had had the joy of holding a dozen newborn babies. Yet, when I welcomed my first child nothing was as I had expected, least of all the way I felt as a mother.
As a new mom I desperately tried to carve out time to reconnect to the practices that had given me so much comfort, peace and joy but I never could. When I did go to a yoga class I felt torn “Am I being selfish?” “Does my child need me more than I need this?” I felt completely overwhelmed and disappointed with myself. The practices that I had so carefully cultivated over the years were not only not supporting me, they were making me feel worse: “I should know better. I have the tools, why can’t I use them? I am a fraud.”
One day it became crystal clear to me that I won’t be able to “get away” in order to meditate and do yoga. I had to figure out a way to make these practices part of my every day. I started slowly - every time I picked up my baby, I would take 3 deep breaths to connect with her, even if she was screaming. This tiny pause gave me a chance to get centered and feel like I had a choice of how to move forward, rather than feel violently jerked around by events I had no control over. Gradually I started to feel the familiar soothing and empowering effects of these practices. Self-compassion started trickling in. And as I gave my child just a few moments of my undivided attention throughout the day, I got to know her better and the sense that I was always doing it wrong started to melt away. The transformation I experiences was gradual and undeniable.
I can still feel the sense of relief as I started to realize I can do this parenting thing in a way that is aligned with how I want to be as a mother. It is my passion and my purpose to share this with other mothers. Wherever you are on this path of motherhood, staying present and connected with your child will make you a more effective and joyous parent and person. It can take just a few minutes a day to cultivate and nurture this connection to your child, to yourself and to life.
I started practicing yoga as a child in my native Bulgaria. In 1996 I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where I rediscovered yoga and have been an avid student of the art ever since. In 2001 after I completed my BBA degree from Golden Gate University of San Francisco, I took a year-long trip to India and Thailand and received my yoga teacher-training certification from Vivekanada Prashanti Kutiram Yoga Institute in Bangalore, India. As part of my yoga teacher training, I had the joy of teaching yoga to children in the Himalayan mountains.
Since then sharing yoga with little ones and their families has been a passion and a calling. I have taught yoga to children in schools, yoga studios, preschools and week-long family retreats in Hawaii and Costa Rica. In 2015 I authored a book for children Morning, Zora! Or How to Wake up a Sleepy Child and in 2017 the beautiful and playful Yoga Cards for Children. Both projects were illustrated by the talented Mila Popnedeleva-Genova.
I am passionate about helping parents stay present and mindful through this journey, building a strong connection to their own children while deepening the sense of joy and fulfilment that often gets buried in worry and overwhelm.
I am certified yoga instructor, an author, a DONA certified birth and postpartum doula and a counseling practitioner in the Hakomi method, which weaves the mindfulness and non-violence principles of Eastern philosophy with Western Psychology. I facilitate Mindful Moms groups through Mind Body Moms, a California based organization which offers physical, mental, emotional and social support to moms with children of all ages.