Having a baby is one of the biggest life changes and transitions. Fitting yoga in with a small one is a challenge in itself. Here, Kate Walker shares her experience and shares some wise words which may resonate with new mums…
I had my first child last year, in 2016. He ended up being born by emergency caesarean and the recovery was slow and hard – I had never had surgery before, let alone serious abdominal surgery, and didn’t realise how impatient I am until then!
Coming back to yoga was hard for my body but harder for my ego.
I’ve never been a naturally flexible or strong person. Nothing in the physical practice of yoga came easily to my body. But this was a whole new world, and I had no choice but to accept where I was and start from there.
Finding time to practice and fitting yoga in was hard with a new baby, as when I had a few minutes to myself I just wanted to sleep!
However, I committed to 15/20 minutes a day (or ‘most days’!) and felt a difference very quickly. Not only in my body – I felt less stiff, less back, neck and shoulder pain and tightness – but also in my mind.
I was kinder to my husband and my friends. I became more able to be present with my son, less anxious and more able to enjoy the moments. Yoga is magical like that.
So notice if you think you have to do a 90 minute class or it’s not worth it. Notice if you think you have to do hard impressive-looking poses or you’re not progressing. Notice if you’re impatient, unkind and even violent to yourself in your yoga. The first step is noticing.
For me, once I had noticed what was happening within myself, it was just a choice – a choice to start along the stepping stones to feel better, in body, mind and heart. Some days that was just about trying to re-find some breath, some days that was a few easy poses while I grunted and groaned. And some days I would surprise myself and be able to do a bit more.
I have changed my intention behind practicing – it’s time to come home, to go within while i spend so much time caring for my baby boy the rest of the day. Rather than just fitting yoga in.
It’s a time to unstick the stuck – stuck joints, stuck muscles, sure, but also stuck patterns, stuck attitudes.
Students sometimes ask me how often they should practice. One of my teachers, Judith Lasater, says “only do yoga on the days when you want to feel better”.
So today, I think I’ll do some yoga. How about you?