A quick answer that will be relevant to most of the Mums who come to or are thinking of coming to my classes, is ANY amount of yoga can be hugely beneficial! If you can come once a week you will learn a lot, you will use some of it at home, and some of it may come to you at those times in the middle of a hard night with a teething baby, or a long wet afternoon with a tetchy 6 month old… And you will think- phew I’m glad i had that in my toolkit! I know this as Mums have told me so!
If you can come to class AND do a daily ten minute joint practice with your baby, you will both benefit massively! It’s amazing how even a few minutes pausing in your day to pay attention to your posture and breath, and to tune in to and delight your baby with your movements, song, voice and smile, can really perk up your day together.
With a toddler, ten minutes is quite a lot, and you may well find that their first reaction is “NO”!!, especially if you try and be too insistent about it! Better to slot in a few of the songs or individual poses when you can, so they don’t actually know they are doing yoga! Or maybe that’s just my rather independent minded little girl…..!
If you practice/ d yoga before having children, you may like me have wondered how you would keep up your practice alongside family life. It is generally hard to get out to a yoga class while you have a young baby, and I would say, probably not advisable while your baby is under 6 months anyway ( and needs caution ie tell the teacher you are postnatal, after that, I would say until baby is 1 year but much depends how your birth, and postnatal recovery has been.)
I didn’t get back to a class until my second baby was over a year, and with my first, attempted to get back to my regular class from when she was around 8 months on numerous occasions involving last minute dashes after breast feeding my baby to sleep, running past the babysitter out of the door and then getting there to find the class full, on one particularly memorable occasion! ( I think I actually cried in the leisure centre foyer!) I found with the my first that the frustration of feeling like I couldn’t get back to class and wondering when this would be possible, actually had a worse effect than the lack of uninterrupted practice! Soi tried to go easy on myself the second time, and had lower expectations anyway being on my own much of the time with two little ones. When I finally made it back to class it was sooooo worth it! I had a deep emotional release during ‘ saddle pose’ that took me back to giving birth, connected me with my changed, postnatal self, and brought me right back into the present. I have been to a couple more classes since then but the Saturday morning class I can sometimes get to clashes with a music class that my little ones love, and I have to say, that takes priority. I feel that the best way to practice is to have a home based practice, no matter how infrequent or ” chopped up” it has to be to fit around children’s needs and the need for sleep! Classes are the icing on the cake for me, really important to check in, to get inspiration and guidance from a teacher, but most important to have a foundation of connecting with your self on your own mat.
I do not do an asana practice every day. Sometimes I go a while week without a fuller practice; usually I do about half an hour if I’m lucky. But this works for me, it is better than nothing, and I try to live the principles of yoga , and to use my breath as an anchor, every day.
Last year I blogged about a ‘ home based yoga retreat’ over Easter weekend, and I am planning on doing the same thing this year, and to share with you how this is different now having two toddlers instead of a new baby and a toddler! Watch this space! How do you balance your practice with your parenting? Or are they part of the same thing?