Laying a Fit Foundation

Laying a Fit Foundation

Apologies for the delay in posting. Her Royal Turd Bird-ness has been ill and I’ve been a bit preoccupied changing the site, which I could not have done without the help of a very smart and kind lady. More changes on the way as I play with the new layout.

Anyhooo, I finally got brave the other morning. Chiclet woke up in the middle of my early morning yoga routine, and I figured it was time. Once she was sorted with her baby and blankie I made my way back to the mat. I was impressed, and would call it a success, we made it 20 minutes! She even tried a couple of the poses (down dog and half moon) which was beyond cute. Even though it was a bit abbreviated, I felt ready for the day despite the staggered, scattered and lop-sided at times routine with a toddler running in between my legs and under my body.

Yep, mums and bugs yoga might just be up your alley.

Yep, mums and bubs yoga might just be up your alley.

I was never big into the mums and bubs yoga. I did try a few times but it just didn’t work for us, and I found I got much more enjoyment out of the yoga if I could do it by myself while she slept. If we have another I’d like to see if he or she would be game, maybe the second time around I would be in a different frame of mind for it, but I liked keeping practice as part of “me” time. It was what I needed during my first foray into motherhood, though I may need to get more creative if I’ve two little souls about.

There’s a common comment I hear from many fabulous and busy mums. One of the first things to fall or diminish with the new addition is the fitness routine. I get it, I definitely am not as free as I was to zip to the gym, or go for a run when the whim strikes, so I’ve had to work harder than usual to carve out time. Here are a few suggestions for getting and keeping your fitness regime going:

  • Get started as soon as you can
    Yes, six weeks post birth, in the haze of breastfeeding, sleeplessness, recovery and dealing with the myriad visitors who stop by to meet your little blessing, find time, if only ten minutes at first, to get back into it. Maybe it’s gentle yoga or a quick walk, but despite how tired you are you will feel recharged with a bit of physical activity. Gradually increase until you’re back to a pre-pregnancy duration. You will get there.
  • Don’t look to exercise as something to get back your pre-baby body
    A lot of mum’s worry about the changes post birth, but everyone is different, and if you’re feeding a little squawker, it’d be dangerous to deprive yourself (your baby) of much-needed nutrients. For the first few months of getting your groove back, view it as a mental health break as well as a practice towards re-establishing your life-long commitment to health. So maybe delay the marathon training for post-weaning and savour the time you can enjoy some walks in the fresh air.
  • Get babe involved early on and talk about it
    I’ve only just let the girl in on the yoga routine but from very early days I’ve kept up a walking and eventually running habit with her in the pram. I talk to her about this, and tell her that mummy is getting some exercise, we walk by the park and she points and I tell her that her turn will come when mummy’s walk or run is finished. And yes, this is a regular family outing too, it’s a nice way for our family to reconnect
  • Daddy special time
    Once you’ve sorted out the nap and feeding schedule, or as soon as you’ve put your little soul down for a rest, let hubby(or another family member) take over for an hour or more and head out the door, guilt free for a yoga class, gym session, or other physical activity. Having some true alone time, out of the house will have you coming back in a better frame of mind, which will benefit your whole family.
  • Use the creche
    A lot of community centres and gyms have affordable childcare that gives you both a great time out. Your kids get to play with some cool toys and new friends, and you take care of yourself. I felt more comfortable with this once my daughter was independently mobile.
  • Re-adjust your girlie session
    Made some cool mum friends? Great, catch up over a walk. Find a nice trail in your ‘hood and have a goss session while getting your blood pumping. As the kids get older stopping at a playground post walk rewards good pram behaviour.

We all know how important regular physical activity is, and regardless of how active your little cherubs are, running around after them should not constitute your fitness routine alone. For me, it’s important that my girl understands from an early age that daily exercise is just something that we do. It’s important you find something that you love, and share this enthusiasm with your kids; in time this will rub off and you’ll be glad you committed to this from the start.

I guarantee a good walk or work out session has put me in a better space on those challenging days when I wanted to call time-out on the whole mum deal. But I’m in it for at least a couple decades, and I believe in addition to eating nutritious food that regular physical activity is the best thing for everyone. I hope you’re inspired by this post, and would love to hear what other tips and tricks  mums have managed to work into the routine.

 

Cloudy Days

Well. The amazing week passed and I have floundered into a fog of inertia and sadness. Despite this, I did my best with what was on the agenda. Darling and I got our walks in in the morning and it helped; yoga practice was smattered into the nap mix and I even managed the gym a couple times, but I’ve felt rather lacklustre of late. There have been bursts of happiness and optimism, we’re still laughing in our house (how can you not with turd bird?) but truthfully, things are just kind of meh.

I’m not sure if it’s the weather or an underlying shift, more than likely, just a cloudy period mood-wise; maybe the reality of mom’s departure has sunk in. I’m trying to be patient with the funk, not wish it away even though I miss my sprightly side, but rather observe and allow.

I think it’s natural to desire the happy state, we just need to be mindful of where an authentic buoyant feeling comes from. I’ve learned, over time, that a trip to the mall doesn’t make the blech-y feeling go away (well mostly). These moods are a natural part of life’s ebb and flow.

I wish I could write from a place of being on the upswing, but no. In the name of honesty I’m being real about what’s happening, without, I hope, dragging you down along with me! I go through the motions, with the odd inflection of inspiration and lightness. I take each day as a huge victory because I am still doing what needs to get done; still connecting and seeing wonderfulness around me. I’ll get to the other side of this, any day now. I have faith.

I’ve had ample opportunity and little nudges reminding me of how friggin good I really do have it. Intellectually I understand. Emotionally and psychologically, I am stuck in a place that is not doing me any favours. But if I dwell on the slumpy grumps too much I then get mad at myself for wasting time in grouchyland, which then invites the whole scenario to reside longer. So I just keep trying to release, accept, release. I’m in the middle of it.

While I’m down here, shout out and great big love to the girl, because what can make your heart open more than the unfettered energy of a glorious young’n? And even bigger smooch to my man for his patience and goofiness while he waits for my sunny self to return.

So, in the name of our yoga practice, how can we work with these “down” days? If there’s one thing I can’t emphasise enough it’s the importance of moving your body. I know it feels like the last thing you want to do. It was most definitely the last thing I wanted to do Saturday morning; the grey skies were telling me to take it easy and have a curl up on the couch with a cup of coffee and the newspaper while dragon darling napped. Despite the urge I knew if I got my butt out the door and went to yoga class I would be so much better for it. And I was.

Even though I’m in a bit of a blue phase it’s given plenty of inspiration for this Tuesday’s class. We’ll be working with some flow focused on uplifting spirit and opening our hearts before settling into a sweet restorative practice to nurture the soul and finish up with a heart healing meditation. I look forward to seeing you all there and hope you walk out the door with some tools for your own yucky days.

For those of you who catch up on the blog, what’s your go-to when your mood takes a nose-dive? Do share your wisdom so we are all inspired to accept but proactively manage the blahs.

Sh!t people say about yoga – part 1

Ok, so over the years I’ve heard some gooders. Little things that people say and assume about yoga and and the yoga community that are off track, false or limiting.

One that I hear most frequently when I tell someone I meet for the first time that I teach yoga, that I was reminded of when walking behind a couple at the outdoor market the other day as they contemplated a flyer for beach yoga.

“I can’t do yoga anyways, I’m not flexible enough.”

How do the following sound to you:

“I can’t go the gym, I’m not fit.”
“I can’t be a CEO, I’ve never run an organisation before.”
“I can’t write a novel, I’ve never been published.”

Illogical right? You have to start somewhere. And that is: where you are, right now.
Too often, we view a situation from an end result or condition that we believe has to happen or magically be there before we even begin. We close the doors on the possibility of a new life experience based on prejudices and expectations drawn oftentimes from a murky perspective.

I get it, maybe you think yoga ain’t your thing. But don’t knock it until you try it, and please don’t make the final decision until you’ve explored a few different styles, instructors and spaces. I believe there’s the “just right” for everyone out there as far as yoga is concerned.

Besides, the point of yoga isn’t to get “flexible,” it’s to feel good. To move through life with a bit more buoyancy, freedom and connection. 15 years into my relationship with yoga and I continue to work on hanumanasana (aka, the splits). Do I let the fact that I’ve yet to master this pose hold me back in pursuing my yoga teaching? Hells no! Would I like to do the splits one day – hmmm sure, that would be cool and provide a real sense of accomplishment. But that’s not why I get on the mat, day in and day out.

For me, yoga has awoken a feeling of aliveness and contentedness that I use to inform my life. It does not exist in a vacuum – it pervades everything. Yoga opens my body, alleviates the aches and pains that come with chasing around after a fearless, curious toddler half the time, and seated at a desk for my fundraising job the other half.

It certainly helps to deal with injury as well as prevent it. I’m convinced it’s why I had a pain-free marathon finish ten years ago. It’s opened up a more frank dialogue between my heart and mind, transforming my life in ways I could not have imagined.

Yoga is a modality that almost anyone can benefit from. I don’t teach to make you flexible, I teach to help you love your life. If this sounds like something that appeals to you, please join me at my upcoming classes.

On a closing note, what are some ways right now that you could become more “flexible” right now, get out of your own way before deciding that something isn’t right for you, or take an initially uncomfortable risk in he name of living life more fully?

Embracing Imperfection

Embracing Imperfection

Thanks to my sister’s suggestion, I started an online course with Brené Brown on The Gifts of Imperfection. Which is perfect timing, considering the new state of affairs in our household. So far, one week in, I am fast recognizing my propensity to want perfection. Of course it’s easy when life, relationships and circumstances resemble expectations– but the unplanned, undesired or imperfect are a struggle.

Who isn’t dealing with some degree of this in some way at some time? I figured I had been making the transition into this new phase of motherhood pretty well. It was this morning while on the phone with a good friend that I broke down in tears and realised I have a long way to go with this new deal.

I’ve been struggling with a wicked virus for weeks – which means no gym visits and toned down everything else (walks, vinyasa, social outings) in an effort to get well. The typical outlets and small sense of accomplishment that comes with them are not available to me.

Thinking I would be back in the gym by this weekend, I was struck for the fifth time with the down swing of said virus a few days ago. The low energy also means housework and little chores that I usually whiz-bang off no problem are piling up before my eyes. Working from home means I get to stare my lack of efficiency in the face too. Yay!

Darling came down with conjunctivitis earlier in the week – meaning no day care and an envisioned productive workday down the tubes. That’s all right, I told myself, you’ve got Thursday; tackle the work 100% then. Her condition has meant more frequent waking at night, which has not helped with my health or patience.

This morning I hand my screaming baby, who desperately clings to me, over to the day care, feeling a huge sense of relief and excitement about the chance to get some work done, even though I am plugged up with a cold again. Of course as I drive out of the parking lot I feel guilt, is it normal to feel so happy to off-load her?

Less than two hours later I get a call, and it’s confirmed by a visit to the doctor: hand, foot and mouth disease. Sparing details, there’s no swimming, no day care, no outings until she’s better. After my taste of freedom this morning, it’s another round of virtual house arrest for baby and me.

I ask for a blood test; surely there is a way to chalk up the hell I’ve been going through. Perhaps it’s my Hashimoto’s acting up again? “I just want to get something started and finished in my life,” I say to the doctor as I tidy up the blocks girlie has tossed around the office.

“Oh you won’t,” she laughs, “Didn’t anyone tell you about being a parent?”

Uh. Not really.

So I’m in an extended “just get through this” mode. The cycle is taking on a never-ending tone and I admit my patience is slowly eroding into anger. This is more imperfection than I signed up for!

How do you resist these moments of imperfection in yourself and in your life? And how do you accept them? Image