Yoga for the Modern Mama by Andrea Broadbear
Yoga isn’t about rolling your mat out in your dedicated yoga space, with scented candles burning, buddha in the corner and absolute silence, except for the gentle chiming of your singing bowls soundtrack playing in the background.
It can be. But it doesn’t have to be.
And let’s be honest, for mamas it’s pretty unrealistic.
For the average mama it’s much more likely that your yoga will involve one or more children jumping all over you while you attempt downward dog in your pyjamas, surrounded by kids toys and last nights dinner still on the floor. As for singing bowls or candles….yeeeah, I don’t think so.
Life must always go on and Yoga is not about an escape from life. Yoga’s about a way of dealing with life more effectively; to be able to involve oneself with one’s family, one’s friends, one’s social commitments, one’s job and yet at the same time maintain one’s centre. ~ Paul Harvey
The thing is, yoga is not about the mood you set or the poses you do, it’s all about your intention. Which is why yoga is considered a lifestyle, rather than an exercise regime.
Why not then just embrace the chaos and make it part of your intention.
For parents, yoga should be about your journey with the your kids. Learning to breath through the challenges, to be present through the joys, to teach your kids the value of movement and play. Isn’t living an authentic life, being in the moment and sharing experiences that are good for your physical and emotional wellbeing going to rub off on your kids? If you’re in a good space, chances are they will be too.
So your yoga journey is not just about you, it’s about all aspects of your life.
Yoga can also be an opportunity for you to bond with your family. Mums and bubs yoga is a wonderful way to reconnect with yourself and enjoy bonding time with your babe, in an atmosphere that is safe, nurturing and welcoming. But it doesn’t need to stop there.
Yoga can be used to focus your kids before meal times, to create calm in stressful situations or encourage moments of play. All the benefits that exist for mama exist for your kids.
For the avid yogi one of the hardest things to adapt to once becoming a mama is no longer having that dedicated time, solely set out for your practice. Having come from strong yoga backgrounds as teachers found this to be the case. But what we discovered was that it wasn’t necessarily a case of letting our practice go, it was simply about adapting our practice to suit our changes in lifestyle. Our practice is now even more enriched than before because it’s no longer just about us – it’s about our children, our connection to them, how they change us as people, how being mums has shaped our lives.
So, don’t consider your yoga practice an escape from your family or always having to be an opportunity to get alone time. At times, allow your yoga to be an exploration with the people who mean most to you.
“Yoga creates children who are bright lights in this world, increasing their self-awareness and strengthening their bodies” ~ Shakta Khalsa
That being said, don’t dismiss the need for that precious “me time” – again, that’s just an expectation that you may need to adjust now that you’re a mama. It may not be the chunk of time you were able to dedicate to yourself pre-kids, it will probably be much less, but mini bursts of me time are essential to every mamas journey nonetheless. It may be a case of just having to be a little more creative with how you achieve your me time – but it is important.
As for your family time, why not try these:
* Connect with your breath when you’re in a moment of calm with your babe, feeding or soothing, and notice how they respond to this experience
* Roll out your mat and allow your kids to interact as you move through a yoga sequence, particularly if your babes are still young
* Create a game by using yoga poses to create animals with your toddler, see how many animals you can find.
* Re-enact nursery rhymes or tell stories with your kids using movement and yoga poses
* Teach your kids how to breath in a fun way – such as filling their bellies like a balloon and then running around the room as they release the air
Above all, learn to have fun and play with your kids. They have a lot of lessons they can teach us!
Andy (mama to 3) & Kate (mama to 1) are yoga therapists, teachers, pre & postnatal specialists, but most importantly busy mamas. They started YogaMamas as a way of showing mums how they can reconnect with themselves and use the tools of yoga to live in flow, by instilling mini bursts of “me time” into their days.