For all you mums who love to have some 'me time,' Emma has got some top tips on the best ways to fit yoga into your busy schedules read more
Yoga has always been a seminal part of my life. It blows my mind that all you really need is your body and you can feel *that* good. I started practising long before I had children and can’t see a day when I’ll ever stop. That said, I wasn’t sure how I’d fit my practice in once I did become a mother. However, far from letting it fall by the wayside, it’s actually now a priority. It’s now not just about doing it to keep me in shape physically. It’s also about the headspace 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 scenario).
1. Explore online yoga classes
It was during pregnancy that I started exploring online yoga classes. The idea of quickly fitting in some exercise without getting dressed started to seriously appeal. I love Yoga with Adrienne who has classes and series for all types of practice, mood, goal and length of time. So whether I’m in the mood for some stretching morning yoga or looking for something specific related to flexibility, for example, you can find some amazing classes online.
2. Get Some Nice Gear
Maybe it’s just me, but if I have some nice leggings, or in the case of yoga, a mat, I am way more likely to get on it. I’m obsessed with this floral Laura Ashley mat – it’s so pretty, and so well cushioned, that it just makes me so happy practising on it.
3. 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 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. 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 fun to meet some other mama yogis!
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).
5. 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 collide. 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 are 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 practising 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 practising 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. I grab my Laura Ashley bag with all my yoga gear in it and am ready to go.
How do you keep your yoga up if you’re a mum? What’s your favourite way to practice? Let us know below or @LauraAshleyUK.