A spiritual yoga mum has caused waves on Instagram through her incorporation of breastfeeding and menstrual bleeding with yoga.
30-year-old Carlee Benear took up yoga after the birth of her second child as a way to combat postpartum depression.
Carlee caused controversy on Instagram after a photo of her free-bleeding whilst doing yoga around her children was removed.
Here’s the photo which thrust her into the limelight:
Speaking to UNILAD, Carlee said:
Having a healthy monthly cycle is a blessing not all women have. Celebrating life includes the moon cycle!
Getting time to practice alone is hard to come by with three kids in the house who all have a yoga journey of their own and I love including them because yoga teaches the best lessons of life.
This is the blood they came from and after birthing them into my husband’s hands, we all have a great appreciation for it.
Having my son come find me first thing in the morning to give me a loving embrace as he missed me while he slept is never going to be shunned in my house.
Having his sister learn from this love and mimic it is priceless. I take time each cycle to be grateful that I can bleed and I incorporate it into my yoga practice to honour all of the women who have it and those that can not.
I wish more women could find love for this monthly cycle of life too. I share these precious moments of raw motherhood because other mother can relate.
Whether it be never using the restroom alone, or not taking time to get dressed because we dedicate our all to our kids, we need to empower each other daily.
Carlee reiterated how it’s ‘easy to forget how fortunate we are when the stresses of life come up and we need to remind ourselves this is how life is, beautiful and full in every moment’.
It's not everyday that I get a good length video of #breastfeedingyoga , especially not on a day that I learn a new trick (how to tuck my foot behind my head in scorpion) ?. She definitely doesn't make it easy. In our stage of nursing, right now, we are at all day. She wants to explore the world and figure out how things work, but needs a boob to tug, hug and plug while she soaks it all in. I'm always here to support her and , as you can see, she supports my needs too. This 18 months has been a wonderful bonding experience with her. As I sit here to write this, she is content next to me stroking my arm while I breathe through my passing thoughts. It's also not every day that we are so in sync as this ?. Today is a special day though, we got to see an historical Super Blue Blood Moon eclipse as a family, and during that I was blessed with blood of my own. I am so honored. Everyone had energy today and we all felt drawn to connect that energy. We washed ourselves in moonlight and sunlight today. I celebrated the skin I'm in, the body of a creatrix and the heart seeds of children I birthed through the joining of two worlds. We celebrated US.
Many of the people who reported the photo commented how they thought it was ‘unhygienic’ and ‘self-important’, though some people praised her for de-stigmatising periods.
No, my children were not bled on, they simply took a second to give me a hug.
There were many women who were empowered by this reminding and many more who found me through the hate.
Though the picture was removed, its lesson still rings loudly and many women have changed their views on this and sat to ask themselves why, if it bothered them, did it make them recoil.
It’s time we start digging deeper as to why things bother us, is it our own views or are we thinking only with our split second society based brain?
PHOTO by @realteelphoto Day 8 of #anatomyofselflove INFORMATION POST Dalai Lama: "I believe that if we stop to think, it is clear that our very survival, even today, depends upon the acts and kindness of so many people. Right from the moment of our birth, we are under the care and kindness of our parents; later in life, when facing the sufferings of disease and old age, we are again dependent on the kindness of others." To receive kindness does us good. Think of a time someone has been kind to you, in a big or a small way: A passerby gave your directions to reach the station or a stranger threw herself in a river to save you from drowning. What effect did it have on you? Probably a beneficial one, because if someone helps us when we need it, we feel relief. And everyone likes to be heard, treated with warmth and friendliness, understood, and nourished. Something similar happens on the other side of the equation: Giving kindness does us as much good as receiving it. . . . The true benefit of kindness is being kind. Perhaps more than any other factor, kindness gives meaning and value to our life, raises us above our troubles and our battles, and makes us feel good about ourselves. Love is as critical for your mind and body as oxygen. It's not negotiable. The more connected you are, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally. The less connected you are, the more you are at risk. It is also true that the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life. Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Most depressed people don't love themselves and they do not feel loved by others. They also are very self-focused, making them less attractive to others and depriving them of opportunities to learn the skills of love. There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But love doesn't work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills. CONTINUED IN COMMENTS
Using her love of psychology, Carlee explained how the people criticising her online were ‘releasing temporary stress’ and think ‘a screen makes them invisible and their words acceptable’.
Carlee’s videos of her breastfeeding whilst doing yoga have also attracted a lot of attention, with people wondering why she paired the two activities together.
As opposed to making a statement about breastfeeding, Carlee said her breastfeeding yoga is more about putting time towards something natural and necessary while giving herself some self-love and me-time in the process.
A good morning hug from my son (who could care less if his mom is sweaty and/or having this MONTHLY cycle because I'm his MOMMY) while I was practicing , and a monkey see monkey do baby sister who loves to show love too – turns into me bleeding on their heads and shoving their faces in my lady parts. I guess I could have described what was going on better – but I certainly didn't see people finding it offensive or having their own twisted minds turn it into me shoving a child's face in blood ? Yeah, that boy obviously gazing at his sister in the shunned picture, and his brother pictured with him here, are boy's who will not make a girl feel ashamed or embarrassed for starting her period at school, who will have girlfriends that they won't make fun of as they learn how to welcome womanhood into their life, who will have wife's one day that may birth bloody children right into their hands like their father did. They will grow into men who may even help those girlfriends and wives learn to appreciate that they can bleed and create life, and know that is something not everyone is able to do. They are going to be men who ask themselves why something bothers them before they decide to offer their opinion on it. Men who grow up learning that not everyone will like what they do or who they are, men that know their way of life isn't everyone's way and that is ok because they can learn from others. Men who are going to be there for support when their sister goes through the celebrations of life too. These little guys aren't going to be perfect, because that's impossible. They are going to know how female and male bodies (you know, the one thing that everyone lives in) operate, and how to take care of the body they live in. They are growing up with parents who's parenting style isn't based off of kids being in the way of their already established lifes. Parents who don't hide real life from them and react with love. Parents who teach them AND learn from them. Parents who teach them how to listen to their body, meditation or how to do excersises properly. Or hop on for the fun of it. They will grow up being HUMAN BEINGS.
She explained how yoga has helped her connect to her children:
Yoga has helped me dive into motherhood and become the mother I always dreamed of, it gave my children the mother they need.
One who is loving , supportive and can react with patience – and in turn they’re being brought up in a home they can feel accepted and learn to accept others.
No one should be ashamed of feeding their children or teaching their children however they feel called to.
Society has taught us to just hand over our children and let the world sculpt them, we are losing our connections in families by this view and missing out on many opportunities to not only teach our own kids , but learn from them.
Carlee encourages others to do whatever makes people happy and to refrain from judgement because ‘acceptance is what makes this human experience so beautiful’.
Each to their own!