Nena Complo is a mama of 3, holistic doula and yoga teacher who is devoted to reconnecting the modern women with what it means to live embodied in our roles as women, mothers, and caregivers. As a dear friend of mine, Nena and I often find ourselves sitting down to a long chat on Zoom, processing through whatever has been on our hearts. Oftentimes, these lovely conversations spark an internal fire and collaborative spirit that creates transformative dialogue for our larger motherhood communities. We are excited to share a chat we had recently about the power of intuitive self care practices and how those practices ultimately create the space we need to live a life with more devotion and more ease. Enjoy!
Q: Welcome, Nena! There seems to be quite the disconnect between personal practice and the lives of modern women. What does personal practice mean to a mama of three who has a work-from-home business, steady partnership, and truly devotes herself to passion projects?
Daily practice means intentionality. These days, it’s primarily a movement-based practice that is a combination of yoga/stretching, breathing, and dance…where dance is essential and all the movement is intentional. I have personally found the power in a simple 2-5 minute check-in that no longer is seen as an item on my to-do list for the day. There is a lot more flexibility and fluidity as I advance my practice over the years.
For the longest time, I would have referred to my “personal practice” as solely my time on the mat doing yoga. Today it’s a lot more all-encompassing, with very little strings attached. It’s a moment of prayer. Even if it’s a movement-based practice, I still regard that time as prayer.
One additional layer, I consider certain weekly rhythms part of my “practice”. I attend a weekly dance class and a weekly healing session and both of those add more depth to the practice.
Q: At the root of all intentional efforts is a support structure that creates the container for fluidity. How have you personally created a support structure around your personal practice and how has “practice” become a lifestyle for you and your family?
For our family, we have come to a place where personal practice is a tenant of our family structure. It has become a norm that at some point during the day, Mama will have a moment of “centering time” and my family has the understanding of this expectation. It’s become a WE activity in the sense that this time is fully supported by my husband and this time is considered one of our daily priorities.
It wasn’t always like this. I had my first two children very close together during a time when my husband’s job was very demanding. I was experiencing an extended period of extreme depletion and was brought to a breakdown moment. I believe it was this time period that really solidified the importance of practice and self care.
Self care is more than just little rituals to bring you back to center. It’s about how you carry yourself, the relationships that you keep close, and the type of work that you find fulfilling. All of these considerations are part of the structure that supports sustainable self care.
Q: Understanding which self care acts feel the most nourishing and supportive, it’s much easier to see the potency in practicing within micro moments. What would be your go-to, 5 minute micro moment?
I really try my best to commit to the 20-30 minute daily practice (usually first thing in the morning), but the micro moments can be the piece that keeps everything sustainable. Some days, it’s those micro moments that offer the most juice and feel the most uplifting and nourishing. When I practice re-centering myself throughout the day (in those micro moments), I opt for things that bring me to the present moment like getting outside, moving my body gently in a forward fold, applying oil to my body, taking some long slow breath (or alternate nostril breathing), and dance! Over time, I’ve been able to really fine-tune what will be the biggest bang for my buck. It’s been a process of deep listening.
Q: In order to take the pressure off of personal practice, it is my belief that we need to shift the cultural narrative around what it means to have time and space to tune in. How do we shift the narrative away from “that would be nice” and towards a more attainable and sustainable dialogue?
Here’s the deal. As women and mother’s, it’s essential that we connect with whatever we deem to be “sacred” on a regular basis. Whether this is God, Divine Mother, Spirit, Nature…we need to go there. Reconnecting with the sacred in this way builds the WHY when faced with “wouldn’t it be nice” comments. How could you possibly go a day without it?
For me, I’ve never felt triggered by the idea of “practice” and have always seen it as an act of self devotion that comes with the sky’s-the-limit attitude. Our only job as practitioners is to go deeper and deeper into practice each time we show up. There is no “goal” to be achieved or destination in mind.
From my observation, Mothers know what they want and need. There is just a lot of unnecessary muck (shame & guilt) getting in the way of us claiming this space. What is needed is more support for those women and mothers dedicated to healing their wounds and beliefs around shame and guilt. We do not need to seek permission, as this permission comes from within.
Q: Everyone is at a different place in regard to their relationship to practice. Some are steady on the path, others have fallen off the path and desire a reconnection, and others haven’t quite jumped in just yet… What do you feel is the low-hanging fruit that every woman/mama can incorporate TODAY to help swoop us back into rhythm?
I can see this going a few ways… 5 minutes a day, intuitive action, and simple awareness.
01 – If you’ve established some sort of practice at some point or know what feels nourishing but haven’t quite brought those aspects to life consistently/sustainability, just start doing that “thing” for 5 minutes a day. 5 minutes can be incredibly powerful when you’re craving that reconnection.
02 – If you haven’t identified your “thing”, this is your time to approach practice with a spirit of exploration and experimentation. Opt for actions and movements that feel intuitive to your body and mind. (For me, this is dance.)
03 –If you need another strategy, adopt any mindfulness practice (ex: breath work, gratitude practice, meditation) that allows you to experience those subtleties from within. Those whispers from your inner wisdom will guide you towards what feels nourishing, supportive, and creatively fueling. And then listen more intently, more often.
Q: If you were going to devote yourself to any micro moment for the next 40 days, what would it be?
I’m seeking to create a nourishing community in which all women participating are deeply devoted to their own personal practice and infuse that essence of sacredness into all that they do. When women gather from this place of deep inner commitment, we meet as equals, as companions, and are able to thrive from the support of one another. For me to create this for myself, I’m devoting these next 40 days to diving into the creative process with focus, clarity and organic flow.
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