A few years ago I was curled up on the sofa, book in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, my dog was happily snoring as he kept my feet warm, I put my book down and snapped a photo. The book I was reading was Downward Dog, Upward Fog. Meryl, the author found my photo online and a connection was made.
Downward Dog, Upward Fog is one of those books you can easily lose a day to (or is that just me?). It’s perfect for Yogi’s wanting a fun, relatable, light-hearted read. It tells the story of a young women’s journey into yoga and her experiences of applying spiritual concepts to her relationships and daily life.
I’m very happy to introduce you to Meryl to share her insights on yoga. Meryl has just published another book, (pictured above) that I’m looking forward to reading on parenting and living a spiritual life called Enlightened Parenting.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m a yogi, mom, and longtime magazine writer, and I’m the author of two books of interest to yoga folks—my newest, Enlightened Parenting: A Mom Reflects on Living Spiritually With Kids, and my first one, the women’s novel Downward Dog, Upward Fog.
Everyone who has ended up on a yoga mat raising their arms in their first sun salutation has a story of what led them there. What’s yours?
I love how I got into yoga! I was at a gym in New York City pedaling away on the exercise bike when a woman gracefully yet powerfully floated by. I wanted some of that! When I found out she was the yoga teacher, I took her class the following day. It’s been a love affair ever since.
What keeps you returning to your yoga mat?
I’ve been doing yoga for more than 20 years, and I’m also a certified yoga teacher. The style I love is gentle and introspective. For me, a good yoga practice connects me to my highest self even more than a good sitting meditation does.
How has your yoga practice filtered through to your everyday life?
Much of my writing—and both of my books—are very much about yoga and its philosophy of accepting and embracing what is. Enlightened Parenting is a series of essays on how parents can connect themselves to their larger essence when dealing with their child. And Downward Dog, Upward Fog centers around a woman trying to stay on her spiritual path even though life keeps throwing her off—something many of us can relate to.
What is your favorite yoga pose, breathing practice or mantra?
I love partner poses. Now I do them with my husband or people in class, but as I describe in Enlightened Parenting, I especially adored doing partner yoga with my daughter when she was younger.
What are you loving right now?
I’ve taken to the practice of appreciating everything around me, from the birds in the sky to having flush toilets in my house. It’s a really powerful way to open my heart. I’m also working on adoring things that can be thought of as unwanted. When my son had a problem recently, I appreciated how the situation gave him the opportunity to grow.
How do you nurture yourself?
I think moms in particular can forget how important it is to nurture ourselves, but I don’t think you can parent your best when you ignore yourself. My recent Huffington Post blog on creating your own little sacred space got lots of Facebook shares because I think parents know they need this. One of my sacred spaces is my bathtub—with fragrant essential oils and relaxing music and a good book.
What wisdom has your yoga practice revealed to you that you’d like to share with us?
I saw a great quote the other day: “Yoga is not about touching your toes. It’s about what you learn on the way down.”
Nowhere is that more true than with parenting. It’s not about being a perfect mom or dad, it’s about relishing the experiences. When you first connect with your heart, you come from an amazing space when you interact with your child.
Meryl Davids Landau is the author of two yoga-related books, Enlightened Parenting: A Mom Reflects on Living Spiritually With Kids, and the spiritual women’s novel Downward Dog, Upward Fog. She’s also an award-winning magazine writer whose work has appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Redbook, Parents, Glamour, Prevention and more. Meryl also blogs on Huffington Post and is the co-moderator of the yoga group on the readers’ website, Goodreads.