There are lots of mums and bubs yoga classes out there, (I guess they call them mommy and baby yoga in America, sorry, to all my American readers, my language has been totally Aussie-fied.). But… what do you do when your baby is mobile… Or… what do you do when your baby turns into a toddler… Or… your toddler turns into a three year old? You keep doing yoga, is what you keep doing! If not for your sake, for the sake of your kids! Kids need less-stressed parents!
About four years ago, I became certified as a Sri Sri Yoga teacher in India. I didn’t know it, but at the time that I went for the ten day training in India, I was already pregnant! Oops! (I’ve been to India once before, for a much longer stay). Being in the early phases of pregnancy, certainly didn’t slow me down. I was even retching on the plane ride home… but I brushed my sickness off, and though maybe I had some flu… it was only the next day that I even considered taking a pregnancy test.
Anyway… so I found out I was pregnant…
Enter: Doing yoga practice while pregnant, or with a child, or both, with a child whilst pregnant. Doing a spiritual practice with kiddies around is not the typical picture-perfect eyes closed, sitting cross-legged peacefully on the beach. It CAN look like that at times, but doing yoga with kids around, may include many interruptions. These interruptions may or may not include: little people jumping on you, possibly pulling your hair, probably bumping into you. Other interruptions may or may not include: requests for food or toilet or both, crawling under the bridge you ‘made for them’ during downward dog, and plopping down on your lap when you close your eyes to meditate. You may also find yourself picking up toys, or removing fuzzies from baby’s fists, as you bend over to reach your toes. But, it’s all worth it and you still get the relaxing benefits of doing yoga, I swear! A little bit of attention to the old body and breath, is better than none at all!
I do a bit of yoga, mediation and breathing everyday. I’ve been doing it every day for the past 11 years, when I did my first Art of Living course and I certainly didn’t stop doing it when kids came along. Although, I did have to modify when I could do my practice. Things like yoga asanas (the stretching bit), and some of the pranayam (breathing exercises), can be done while the kiddies are awake. But, when I really want to sit with my eyes closed and do a nice meditation, I do it either while they’re sleeping, or ask my husband to watch them.
Today, we had our first Yoga Mummy Bubby Hang with a bunch of friends. Of course, all the older kids were invited to come along, otherwise… like, who would be able to come? We did it at someone’s house, and there was space for the older ones to play and there was someone designated to keep an eye on the big kids if they were off in another part of the house or outside in the yard. The babes in arms, or mostly in arms, like my little 9 month old, Goldie, were staying close to mum, either on a blanket on the mother’s mats, or crawling around staying very close to mum. We chanted ‘om’ and held yoga poses on the ground (since there were lots of little people, who are also close to the ground). I was astounded to learn about so many yoga poses, such as downward dog, handstand scorpion, among others, that could help anyone’s body become more flexible. Well! I kept it very informal, beginner friendly, and relaxed and told everyone that it was perfectly ok if their little people needed them for anything, that they could just come and go as they needed to keep everyone happy.
The older the child was, the farther they ventured. There were lots of interruptions, questions from the older kids, and some of the babies needed boobies, etc… But, everyone got to do something! Even one of the girls there, (whose little babe was on the boob almost the whole time) said, ‘At least I got to breathe!’.
The session lasted about 30 minutes, and I ended it on a good note (as in, BEFORE the troops got too restless). We finished off with a quick self-head and foot massage. We then shared some healthy snacks and then stuck around for ages yapping and having a good ‘ol time. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! If I counted correctly… there were 12 adults and 16 CHILDREN in that house! That’s 28 people in one place! And, can you believe that, it was a very civil little get together?!
It may not have been the perfect picture of a ‘yoga class’, but it was really fun to come together for the purpose of doing something uplifting and positive. From what I could gather, everyone had a great time. Definitely worth it! We’ll be doing more of these, for sure! Thanks to Informed Mama for the photo, she has an awesome awesome parenting and natural living blog too 🙂