By Kara-Leah Grant
Meet Cathryn Monro, artist, facilitator, mother of two, and author of Spilt Milk Yoga, a companion guide for mothers that applies the lessons of yoga to the everyday experience of motherhood.
Cathryn is passionate about honouring mothers, and about sharing her hard-won wisdom that motherhood is a spiritual path.
Join us as we discuss the complexities and beauty of motherhood, and the transformative power of a regular yoga practice.
On the relationship between motherhood and feminism
“I was raised a feminist, and the two pieces of advice my mum used to give me were, “Don’t get married,” and “Don’t have children.”
“There were forces at work in me that I hadn’t been prepared to navigate until I met them. When my baby was born it eclipsed everything else.”
On why there are no asana practices in the book:
“For me it was very much an internal process… A lot of the book is me trying to sit and meditate, and then realising “Actually, as a mother I don’t have a 40 minute slot here. How do I bring this into the moment where I’m hanging out yet another wash of little socks?”
“I came up very quickly with the understanding that I needed to say ‘This is yoga on the inside.'”
On the asana practices she loves:
“Legs up the wall is the most fantastic restorative pose, and your kids can do it to, or you can read a book with your legs up the wall. It was brilliant for me.”
On the response Spilt Milk Yoga has had from mothers:
“The big thing I’m hearing from mothers is, “Thank you for writing that down because I thought that was just me.”
On motherhood as a spiritual path:
“I was looking for a way to grasp the challenges of motherhood, and I was turning to yoga texts and spiritual texts, and not really finding anything there about motherhood.”
“I began to see that motherhood is a path in itself… It’s not just, “How can I get motherhood out of the way so that I can get to my path?” This is my path.”
‘It was a process of wanting to embrace all of what was coming to me during the day as learning, and the more challenged I felt, the richer it felt.”
On honouring mothers:
“I really want to honour the work of mothers. I think mothers are really at the heart of our social health, and I think if we really take care of mothers, we take care of the whole planet.”
“It’s so invisible, so undervalued, and it’s not paid, so it has no social status… so how do we connect in with the very human value of learning to love and be loved.”
On the lessons she has learned in motherhood:
“The really difficult part was what was going on inside me when my daughter had a tantrum… I found a way to work with that was actually incredibly peace-making inside myself.”
“Trying to control them just doesn’t work. Getting alongside them is much richer, more rewarding, connecting journey.”
Cathryn Monro is a professional artist, writer, educator, facilitator, wife and mother of two. She rates mothering as by far the most challenging, creative, important and fulfilling of jobs. Cathryn’s life, training and work combine her creative drive with a commitment to meaningful education, self-inquiry and group learning processes.
In the year 2000 Cathryn gave birth to her first daughter and in 2003 to her second. Juggling her career and life as a work-at-home mum Cathryn continued her studio practice, writing, and facilitation, and spent 6 years in hands-on early childhood education with the parent-led Playcentre organisation. Over the last 10 years Cathryn has worked with students and professionals leading integrative, group-learning, practice-based inquiry processes, drawing on the experiences of group members to deepen learning, build collaborative relationships and enrich working cultures.
Cathryn lives with her husband of 30 years Christian Penny, and their two daughters in Wellington, New Zealand.