'A resentful mum isn't what I want to be'
With excellent educational qualifications to her credit, Sunaina Rekhi finally found her peace in yoga and motherhood! Read on...
Meet Mumbai-based awesome working mum, Sunaina Rekhi. A graduate from Nottingham University, she pursued a degree in psychotherapy and counseling. But that was before she found her calling in yoga!
With a double major in economics & econometrics and a child development degree, Sunaina prefers spending time with her daughter and husband, when not teaching yoga to the likes of director, Anurag Kashyap.
So Sunaina, how does it feel playing supermum?
Supermum... Living in the moment. When I take my six year old to sleep, she pulls me close to her and puts her arms around me. She wants me to hug her to sleep. So I lie down and let her climb on me as she lays her head on my chest. I am doing it for this moment. This very moment I am living right now.
For every toothless smile, for every wet kiss, for every achievement that makes me think that mine alone is a prodigy. Only this moment is mine. This little bright- eyed creature is mine only for today. I am her mother only for as long as she wants me.
Soon she will have other pursuits. Mama's chest will no longer be the best place on earth to curl up. Mama's cooking will no longer be gourmet. Mama's home will not be as comfortable as the home she sets up with some precious boy.
I hope when that day comes, I will be able to recall these moments, and know that I have had my time with her... precious, pure moments when she was becoming a little person.
To know more about Sunaina, continue reading!
Kindly tell us about yourself?
My dad passed away when I was 14 years old and from then on its been my mom, my brother, my sister and myself. We are a very close-knit family. Learnt at an early age what responsibility means... what it means not to have a father and a widowed mom.
We lived in South Africa for about seven years and after what happened we shifted to my maternal grandmothers house in Delhi where i completed the last two years of school. I graduated from Nottingham University with a double major in Economics and Econometrics.
After I got married to my husband, we were living in London. I went on to pursue psychotherapy and counseling and when I was pregnant did a course in Child Development. I started my yoga journey in 2005 in London when I embarked on a quest to touch my toes!
Subsequently, this led to the quest to balance on one foot; and the quest to do a Chaturanga! I quickly realized that the tangible satisfaction of achieving these milestones was addictive and left me feeling not only physically stronger and flexible but more spiritually and emotionally grounded.
What started as a healthy addiction to yoga and pilates, grew into a consistent Ashtanga yoga practice and culminated in a teacher’s training course in Rishikesh!
Today, I train at various preeminent yoga centres across Mumbai, in addition to various corporate clients such as Google. I have also started a home studio of my own in the forecourt of this lovely quirky little cottage we bought in Bandra where I do a mix of private sessions with my celebrity clients and some group classes.
Continue reading to know about Sunaina's biggest emotional struggle!
What’s a typical day like in the life of Sunaina?
My work comfortably coexists with my family life. I am an early riser in order to get my daughter ready for school each morning and start my yoga classes thereafter.
I time my classes to ensure that I am here when my daughter returns and am still able to squeeze in a class after she sleeps in the evenings and before my husband returns from work.
Weekends are typically sacrosanct and for family only but I do commit to the occasional class now and then. And now with my home studio becoming functional I will be able to sneak in a few more sessions without much disruption to my schedule!
What has been your biggest emotional struggle while bringing up both, your career and kids?
I really enjoy teaching and my daughter really enjoys it too. There are many times she comes with me for the classes, does her own yoga or tells the students to go into shavasana!
Yoga is very close to my heart, and everything about the art. I am thankful to God, that I am able to express myself through yoga. I would never want to deny myself that.
If I become impatient, angry and snappy with my child, the more depressed and resentful I feel. And being an impatient, angry, resentful mother is really not the mother, or the person, I want to be.
To know about Sunaina's idea of 'me-time', continue reading!
While struggling to create a balance between work life and your family, did things ever get bad enough that you wanted to quit? If yes, how did you manage?
That’s never happened because I am very clear on what I want to give to my family, to my work and to myself..
Being the fullest expression of who I am, will invite my child to be the fullest expression of who she is, which is exactly the kind of mother, and person I want to be.
Your idea of me time?
Reading a good book, meeting friends, cooking... In fact, for me cooking is really meditative as well. And a good massage! Love it!
Who has been your sounding board throughout your journey?
My family. My husband.
To know how Sunaina unwinds over the weekend, continue reading!
How do you unwind over the weekend (with the family)?
It is just my husband and I, and our six-year-old daughter here in Mumbai – the rest of our family is in Delhi. We were both living in London for many years before returning to Mumbai in 2010.
So in a sense we’re both used to living away from family. My husband, Vaibhav, is a partner at a real estate private equity fund and my daughter, Samaira, is currently in Senior KG at the Oberoi School.
The one thing that living abroad does is spoil you rotten with the quality of time that you are able to spend together - in some ways I miss that here and would love to have unfettered time on hand without the demands of traffic delays, chaos of domestic help, etc.
Weeknights are school nights for Samaira, so she goes to bed early, but we more than make up for it on the weekends. Weekends are typically sacrosanct, and for family only. We go to restaurants, movies, plays, meet friends, go swimming.
We also enjoy taking road trips. It is a lot harder with a somewhat demanding 6-year-old incessantly asking if we’re there yet(!), but we do enjoy taking her along on road trips. The last time we drove outside the city was to head to Lonavla for a weekend brunch and swim!
Continue reading to know how Sunaina achieved a perfect work-life balance!
What does ‘being a mom’ mean to you?
Being a mom is being the best you can be, every single day of your life. The pain a mother bears right from the birth of a child to midnight feeds, the pain when sees her baby get vaccinated, grow up and make mistakes... it is only experiential and cannot be imagined or explained.
Maybe that's why they say God created Mothers so He could be everywhere.
Advice to working mums who are struggling to achieve work-life balance?
Women do not have to sacrifice personhood if they are mothers. They do not have to sacrifice motherhood in order to be persons.- Elaine Heffner
People ask how can you teach and be a full time mom? My smile grows into a grin as I think of how I have managed to structure my work around being home for my daughter.
Somebody once said to me that "You can have it all; you just can't have it all at the same time." And I think, "Oh yes, you truly can." When you listen to your spirit sometimes you realize that "all" may not be that far from your reach.
Sometimes that means leaving behind one big award for a million daily awards.
If you know an awesome working mum we should feature, get in touch!