Yoga has always been a seminal part of my life. It blows my mind that all you need is your body – no fancy equipment or posh activewear (you should see what I wear to yoga…). I started practising long before I had children and can’t see a day when I’ll ever stopI wasn’t sure how I’d fit my practice in once I became a mother but have found that far from letting it fall by the wayside, it’s actually now not just about doing it to keep me in shape physically, it’s also about the head space gained when I step into the yoga studio (ideal scenario) or roll out my own mat in our living room with lego and littles at my side (more typical). Increasingly too, it’s about the fun to be had involving our children. So here’s how I’ve kept it up amidst the mini people in my world – there should be something here for mums with children of all ages from pregnancy, to newborn to pre school years.
1. Explore online yoga classes
I’m a huge fan of online exercise classes in general (this dude is one of my go tos) but it was when I was pregnant with Jack that I started exploring online pregnancy yoga classes. They’re just a great way to quickly fit some exercise in without leaving your house or even getting dressed (this is what those old pants are for, mamas ?) which let’s face it, when it’s snowing outside and your bump is the size of a beach ball, is an hugely appealing. I love Yoga with Adrienne and the Tonic Useful Yoga series with Steffy White. I still refer to these sites for non pregnancy yoga – they have classes and series for all types of practice, mood, goal and length of time. So whether I’m wanting some specific morning yoga or am looking for some stress relief, you can find some amazing classes online.
2. Try out baby yoga classes
Although I’ve never taken the kids to baby groups, one class that I did do was baby yoga. Once Jack was 12 weeks old we started going to classes at Triyoga with the fabulous Nadia Narain which was a great way to get me back in the groove. Once I had done my first downward dog, there was no going back and what I loved about these classes is that it wasn’t all baby songs and mama chat – I got to do some proper poses and came out feeling like I’d had a good practice – albeit with some breastfeeding and nappy changing mixed in. It was also super fun to meet some other mama yogis.
3. Self – practice (self practice, self practice…)
I always start and end the day with one or two sun salutations, a few warrior poses and an inversion. I cannot stress how much this sets me up for the day or helps me unwind and empty my mind before bed. So long as I keep an eye out not to land on a sleeping babe / kick anything over, I love snatching these few moments to myself just to realign, breathe and focus on myself. Similarly some quick stretching in the shower (yes, grab that time when you can mama!) can work wonders for me in the morning or a quick balance or cat stretch whilst watching TV (admittedly I am 95% of the time entirely slumped on a sofa when I do get to watch TV but try this for those other 5% of times).
4. Get the kids involved
Once you have kids, free time seems to evaporate just as coming up with ideas for things to do with them collides. This is how I came to start to do yoga with the kids – it was just something fun to do and turned out, we all loved it. Here’s some tips to get you on your way and find the fun in involving the kids in your yoga practice.
*Do it in the morning – you and your little one are likely to be on much better form and if you leave it to the afternoon, you will probably find yourself putting it off and opting for cake instead (totally understandable)
*Establish a routine. Always practice in the same place, and use a yoga mat. This is to signal to your little one that mummy will be practicing yoga now.
*Some form of distraction is essential – I recommend bringing a few toys (wooden toys are the best – avoid anything that makes noise), books and some snacks to the side of the mat.
* Play with the poses and try to involve your child in them as much as possible. A small kiss or tickle can go a long way. Jack seems to be obsessed with my feet! That way they will see it as a bit of a game, and will start to find their own enjoyment in it rather than look at it as boring or worse still, resent you for seemingly being distracted. Search #toddleryogachallenge on Instagram to find videos of me and Jack practicing yoga together
5. Try to attend physical classes alone
This is the holy grail. For all of us, time is limited but since having Sonny, I’ve come to realise that some time out is crucial. So I make it my priority to practice at proper classes twice a week; this is my time to relax, exercise, and clear my head. It’s a really sacred time for me.
How do you keep your yoga up if you’re a mum? What’s your favourite way to practice?