Many of you know I have twin toddlers, and while I love them more than the Earth itself, sometimes finding that little bit of time just for me is rare, and when they finally go to bed I am often too cream-crackered to move. Finding time for my daily practise has been a struggle, I won’t lie. Seeing ladies on instagram/facebook/magazines with their ONE precious small person in a lovely joint yoga pose fills me with a sort of… just a teensy weensy bit of envy?
I am encouraging my boys to start learning new poses as it will be good for their bodies as they grow, even if they don’t understand all the strange sanskrit and breathing techniques, let alone what they are for. So I rarely practise on my own any more. You can’t force anyone to do yoga, so I am trying to practise in front of them in the hope that good habits wear off. Between throwing toy fire engines at the dog and colouring in my windows with crayon, that is.
So here are my top tips for mummies with more than one small person to watch over while attempting to fit in a practise:
1. If it doesn’t happen the way you want, don’t stress. So they came and jumped on you mid-warrior and knocked you over? It’s only because they love you. Laugh it off and try again. Never let yourself get cross, it will defeat the purpose.
2. If you can manage it after bedtime, do it then. Morning yoga for me would mean getting up at 4:30am, and that is NEVER going to happen. Gentle bedtime yoga has a lot of restorative benefits and stress-relieving properties, so don’t rule it out. It might not be the best time for a workout that leaves you too full of energy to sleep, but keeping up with your asana practise will keep you in the habit.
3. Speak while you do it. This may mean your ujjayi goes out the window but as you talk yourself through the poses, little ones will pick up on it, learn a new body part or two, maybe even have a go themselves.
4. Remember, it’s not forever. They will grow and when they are great hairy teenagers, you can have more time to yourself, but appreciate them while they are small and cuddly. Teenagers hate their mum kissing them in front of their friends. Do it while they still cuddle back.
5. Keep them busy. If you can give them something else quiet to do. Colouring books, reading, bricks… just don’t step on a lego. Another good time for me is meal time. While they are in their high chairs busy learning the best way round to hold a fish-finger I can be seen practising my tree-pose. Which brings me to…
6. Little and often. It will be hard to fit in a full 90 minutes without something yelling for their potty or a cracker of a mini-fight breaking out. As I am writing this, Eddie is trying to steal my memory stick and close my screen. (*breathe*) Taking 5 minutes here and there to practise a couple of easy poses all adds up. Plus it will keep you limber all day.
So there you have it. If you have tried and failed, try again. Once it becomes a habit you’ll find it hard to give up.