Why mama and baby yoga? my experience
It’s what I’ve always wanted to do – a hands-on job, working with people while keeping my mind and body active. But, somehow I fell into an office career. My education-to-work path was pretty standard – uni, travelling, London, job and then things started to change…met my wonderful hubby, travelled around South America and got married. A career in youth marketing continued back in London until our little baba Rio came along in the summer of 2013.
Going back to work wasn’t an option – agency life with a baba and busy hubby was going to be too much to juggle. Despite my employees wanting the company to be a baby positive place, in reality agency life isn’t a nine to five, five days a week job – it’s a hell of a lot more! And I didn’t want to lose out on each and every precious moment with baba Rio – life’s just too short.
Multiple careers not just multiple jobs – these days’ people change careers more often than they used to change jobs. My grandparents ran the local post office in a tiny village in West Wales from their teenage years until they retired. For me this will be career number three, and I really hope it works out, but I might add on a career number four (a hotel in the sun!) along the way too…
Having a baby changes you – it’s a cliché, but it’s true. I knew things would be different after Rio came along but I didn’t really understand just how different. My priorities have changed completely. I’m now, as my hubby says, two people – I’ve been split in two. And now that’s happened, it would feel wrong to go back to doing what I did before.
Baba yoga is awesome – Rio and I eased our way into yoga via baby massage. Our weekly class was a special time set-aside just for the two of us, away from daily chores of being a new mama. Rio responded well, and we continue to go to yoga every week. Now he can play his own role in the class and enjoys learning new movements through rhymes and songs – although now he’s mobile he also likes running around and exploring his new environment! For me, it’s been great to see him develop and grow more confident, while it’s also been a nice way to meet other mamas.
Rio is a strong little boy – both in body and mind. Strangers often comment on how calm and cheerful he is and I believe yoga has contributed quite a bit to this. My hope it that others get to experience what I have, and enjoy the awesomeness of mama and baba yoga.
My little boy Rio will be two years old in August. Two years ago I couldn’t have imagined how I’d ever fit in a regular yoga practice while caring for my new little baba, but slowly I made it work for me. I learned a few tricks along the way which I’d like to share.
Here are my five tips about how to practice yoga while being a newbie mama...
Restorative – initially finding time and energy for a full on yoga practice was impossible. Plus my body wasn’t ready yet. So I started off with Restorative yoga, squeezing in 10 minutes here and there while Rio napped. The idea behind Restorative yoga is to hold simple poses for five to twenty minutes allowing your body to go into deep relaxation without actually sleeping – perfect for me who found it hard to nap while Rio slept (cat napped) as he’d soon be awake again! If you're interested in practicing Restorative yoga take a look at a few poses by my yoga teacher Petra Mitidieri.
Once Rio was a few weeks old I was able to start classes once again. We went to a mixture of baby massage, baby yoga and mama yoga, where Rio and the other babas were entertained by Petra as she provided instructions to the class. It was nice to get my body moving again, while meeting and sharing experiences with other mamas provided a great support network. Rio wasn’t too sure to start with but after a few classes he became used to the gentle movement and enjoyed the playful games and songs.
West end break – I was, and still am, very luck to have a wonderful mother-in-law that helps me out once a week. Rio loves his Tata (grandma is Romansh, an ancient Swiss language) and I love the chance to escape from my well trodden square mile. I head to the West End for a full on Ashtanga yoga session at Yotopia and then have time for a tasty lunch, and maybe even a quick look around the shops!
Nap time session – now that Rio takes a regular (well most of the time) lunchtime nap I’m able to squeeze in a session at home. I clear away the toys, lay out my mat and log into Yogaglo, an app full of yoga sessions tailored to all experiences and needs. I particularly like teacher Jo Tastula, a newbie mama herself who presents pre and post natal classes as well as Vinyasa Flow sessions.
Make time – I always have a to do list running through my head… do the washing up, cook dinner, renew the car tax… I’ve come to realise though that it’s really important to make time for myself. Yoga is the only thing in my 24-hour daily existence that's really just for me. Yoga is an investment, an anchor amongst all the turbulence and change of being a mother and human in a fast passed world. It’s my bit of escapism!