This is a post about my yoga journey so far. Essentially, this isn’t a parenting post. But it kind of is a bit too, because I’ve learnt a lot about myself and my outlook along the way.
I started yoga about two years ago when I was pregnant with F. I really wanted to stay active during my pregnancy because I didn’t have the same freedom for the long walks I had taken during my first pregnancy, and I also felt like I needed something to help me focus on my baby. I noticed – and I’ve heard this from lots of mother mums since – that my second pregnancy was passing a lot faster than my first one, so by the time I was halfway through, I realised that I hadn’t really bonded with my baby as much as I wanted to.
After a bit of Internet searching, I found a pregnancy yoga class with a lovely teacher called Rebecca at a Sure Start centre not far from where we live and signed up. Pregnancy yoga is a lot less about moving and a lot more about breathing and visualising than regular yoga, and when it came to actually giving birth I genuinely felt like I had a better understanding of my body and how to handle labour. I laboured with and gave birth to F in an all fours position, and I’m sure this was because I found the position familiar and comforting after spending so much time in it during my classes. I also knew that it would help make the labour shorter and the birth easier.
After F was born, I fully intended to start post natal yoga, but by the time I’d waited the necessary six weeks, his feeding issues were in full swing and we went from regular trips out to the park and for lunch to pretty much being under house arrest while I struggled to get things under control and battled with crippling anxiety and mental illness. So I never made it to those classes.
Instead, I re-enrolled with Rebecca last September and have been attending a regular class ever since. I also do a lot of work at home, practising the poses I’ve been taught in the class and pushing myself to try new ones from online yoga videos. Yoga has taught me how to communicate with my body, how to persuade it to do things I didn’t think it could and how to push myself safely beyond what I thought my limits were.
Yoga has also helped to quiet my mind. Life with young children is hectic and fraught with worry a lot of the time, but half an hour on my mat after the boys have gone to bed gives me an opportunity to focus on something else, find some peace and energise my body. It has also helped me develop the strength I need for carrying my boys around and lifting them up into car seats!
Do you know what else it has taught me? A few deep breaths really do help when there’s a tantrum going on in front of me!
For me, yoga has been a wonderful, healthy escape from the everyday stresses of motherhood and I love that I have something that is just “mine” to retreat into at the end of a long day.