Miles is 5 months now, and I have continued to teach a few yoga classes each week, but my personal practice has gone out the window! Every spare minute is spent with my little guy constantly feeding him, changing him, watching him, walking him and playing with him. No yoga.
I have read a million articles about maintaining a personal yoga practice, none of which apply as a new mother. Sure I have the sacred space (my entire living room is a yoga studio), sure I have the inspiring music (I listen to it almost every day) and I own multiple books and magazines for references (collecting dust on the shelf). Sure I could make the time… couldn’t I? I mean, according to all these helpful yoga articles its as simple as scheduling your personal yoga practice into your calendar… but every new mother quickly learns that life with a new baby does not run on schedule.
New Life | New Yoga
This is what I have learned in the last five months about having a baby and doing yoga: it is almost impossible.
I am so grateful to be a yoga teacher because I am not sure I ever would have remembered to return to yoga. I am also grateful that I am originally self taught, as this made it quite easy and natural to return to the small pieces of yoga I have reincorporated into my life.
For those of you who have done yoga and want to start a personal practice with the challenges of a baby these are my suggestions:
1. IF the baby isn’t fussy get them to join you.
For the first few weeks this wasn’t so bad, I could leave Miles on his mat with the mobile and he was happy. He didn’t roll or fuss yet. I would have time to get a few stretches in and do some deep breathing which helped me relax. Some yoga studios even offer Mom & Baby Yoga if your little one isn’t rolling yet.
2. IF the baby sleeps, you do yoga.
Again, in the beginning this was easier, Miles slept all the time and when I couldn’t sleep, I could do yoga (which was often just as beneficial). Now the trick is to get him to go to bed, and then make time for yoga. This is a goal not yet accomplished by me… when he goes to sleep at night I am ready to crawl into bed myself.
3. IF you really do not have the time but really want to do yoga…
Pick one pose a day to practice, and make sure you are breathing deep every day in every moment.
4. Accept the fact that life has changed, and therefore your yoga practice has to change.
This is the hardest lesson for me. I want the hour of deep breathing, of peace and silence and tranquility… I want the bliss of deep relaxation. And this does not exist anymore. Accept it. Even if I leave my baby in someone else’s care for an hour, I will not relax. I will not stay present. It is not the same. And that is okay.
5. Find inspiration.
This may sound repetitive from all the other articles I have read on maintaining a personal practice, but it is true. If you are not inspired to practice, you are not going to do yoga. For me imagery helps me remember. So get some yoga pictures or quotes out and stick them on a bulletin board where you travel past it enough to remind you that you love yoga and you will get to it.
6. Join a class.
If you have to, leave the baby with someone else for one hour once a week and get out of the house to practice with others. It is not the same as a personal practice, but it is time for you to rest and rejuvenate.
New Mom & New To Yoga?
Many yoga students never create or maintain a personal practice. If you are a new mom you may be interested in trying yoga, but to do it on your own would be nearly impossible.
If you are fortunate enough to have someone to watch the baby so you can take an hour or two to get out, I would highly recommend signing up for a yoga class just once a week. And buy the package so you stay committed and are able to give it a fair chance.
If you want to learn more about yoga be sure to check out my website as well.