Or how to cope with being a new mum and continuing your practice of yoga
You have practiced yoga alone at home or in a shala/class for years, and then that wonderful day arrives, and your baby is in your arms.......This is a joyful wonderful experience...yet you have been thinking how do I practice my yoga now.
I am going to try and keep this blog brief...as I have hardly any time to write and I know new mums have any time to read(especially if your baby doesn’t sleep)
For me, having this baby signifies a spiritual experience, a gift, a soul lesson for which every day I look to the new lessons to learn. I have found my physical yoga practice less demanding even if I do full primary as my expectations have changed towards my mat.
So you’re into 7th Series Ashtanga Yoga, suddenly you have to cope with the organic, messy and unknown thing called unconditional love & a new soul.......and there is lots of exploding nappies, projectile vomit and washing to do.......plus lack of sleep and healing from giving birth (how ever that was for you)...so being kind and gentle with yourself is a must.
Firstly I can only advise what I did, and I followed my instincts.....firstly drop any judgement of yourself and try to focus on what feels right for you...everyone will give you an opinion on how to raise a baby & everyone will approach getting back to yoga differently, find out what's right for you.
Heal.....I had a emergency c section at the age of 46, breast fed and had an infection in the first few weeks of the new arrival Elliott plus Recti Diastasis (tummy muscle split right up to my ribs).....I was exhausted and ill, so I took care of me, baby & partner...and that was enough...
Elliott had a tongue-tie as well, so I was back and forth to hospital, doctors and Breast-feeding clinic, finding lifts from kind souls who could drive me, as I couldn't drive for 6 weeks. (C-section)
I didn't practice physical yoga until 12 weeks, and then it was 1 salutation at a time per week increasing as time went on. I wanted to take it slow, and take the opportunity to restart my practice with my new mamma body, your have muscle memory from the pre mamma body and then you have the hidden potential with this new body...I stayed positive. There is change and some is for the better. -I ignored the baby belly, the wrinkles the stretchmark’s & let yoga take care of me...the physical and non-physical.
By 6 months I was doing standing poses, and Elliott varied in his feeling towards my practice....he wasn’t crawling at this stage, but he was vocal.
I put Elliott first, if he kicked off I would stop and tend to his needs & abort the practice if necessary...once he started crawling..The new game of yoga with a clinging, crying ,giggling baby occurred, I would stop and take care of him when needed, again giving up when necessary as he was my priority. Yoga is now a messy organic crazy place while Elliott is with me...its different but Im still practicing yoga.
I decided to enjoy, relish in every moment, practice being present & watch Elliott...he can be my moving meditation, every action, noise etc. there is so much joy and him being a baby will be fleeting
I starting having private lessons at 7 months every 6 weeks and took Elliott with me (Lauren Munday Ashtanga Yoga London) the only way I could be in a shala.
*I had no one to look after the baby (5.30-6am is a tough babysitting call), couldn't find a yoga studio local who would allow me to bring a 3-6 month old baby to morning Ashtanga yoga. (He was not crawling at the time
Elliott is now walking and it is extremely funny practicing yoga, the joy he has watching and interacting with me during yoga class is a whole new dimension to the practice.
The yoga I did try to practice through out pregnancy & beyond was the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga, with great focus on the Yamas.
Non attachment (Aparugraha) to my life before birth and my yoga practice afterwards.
Non Violence (Ahimsa) to myself and those around me allow healing to the body.
Truthfulness (Satya) honesty to myself and how to develop my practice. Not pushing myself and not being lazy, finding the middle ground. some days mother hood is hard, talk to friends, family and other mums for support, don't put on a brave face x
Non Stealing (Asteya) Didn't take time away from my new born to practice, he always came first, so practice was when he slept or when he could cope with mummy on the mat. Baby time is important
Brahmacarya/Grihastha......this is easy...family first.x
So my advise, enjoy your baby, live in the moment, practice the 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga the best you can and let yoga happen when you & baby are ready
I now am hoping to start morning Mysore/Ashtanga class for families with young babies (non crawling) so that everyone can come practice Ashtanga Yoga with me in Seale, Farnham 5.30am-7am in the future
i hope in time I can support new mums back to the ashtanga practice and happy for them to bring baby to practice (I am qualified yoga teacher and pregnancy/post pregnancy)
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info.
Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana R Sharath Jois
Yoga Sadhana for Mothers Anna Wise and Sharmila Desai
The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda