I have a baby who refuses to nap alone. He's also a fan of the quick and dirty cat nap. With that said, I can only practice during his waking hours. Just like life has completely changed (goodbye going to the bathroom alone), my practice changed dramatically as well. My little man turns 9 months next week, and I've learned how to have a solid home practice with him by my side (or on me). With flexibility you can have a killer and satisfying practice, and even bond with your little one! Today I'm going to share my tips and tricks.
Here we go...
1) Make your practice a priority. This is the most important step, and don't feel guilty about it. Obviously the baby is your major priority, but after that, yoga. Yoga before errands. Yoga before cleaning. Everything will be better if mama takes care of herself!
2) Choose the optimal time of day. Love practicing in the afternoon because you feel more flexible? Me too. That doesn't work for the baby though. In general, Bodie is happier in the morning. That means we do yoga when I'm stiff and groggy. It's okay, yoga works it's magic on me, and my day is better because of it! I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I think I actually prefer practicing in the morning now. Who is this person I've become?!
3) Expect multiple interruptions, and for your practice to potentially end abruptly. It makes the days where you can get it all in that much sweeter. Plan to breastfeed at some point or to have change a poop diaper. Which leads to #4 and #5...
4) After you warm up, practice what's really important to you. For me, I know I want to work my core so I make sure to incorporate my "core routine" towards the beginning of my practice. You never know when you'll be cut off.
5) Practice your weaker/less flexible side first. If you have to abruptly stop, it's better to make sure you didn't just do your "good" side.
6) Kinda obvy, but please make sure the environment is baby proof and safe. And fun! I have mats everywhere because all Bodie wants to do is stand these days. Having some special toys designated for yoga time helps keep baby occupied with you.
7) Treat yoga as the baby's yoga time, too. Allow your little one to exercise. If they're not crawling yet, put their activity mat next to your mat. I'm pretty hopeful that yoga time will be our thing that we do together forever.
8) Include your baby within your practice. Get silly and play. Sing and talk. Make funny phases. Tell your baby what you're doing. Don't take your practice too seriously. It's just yoga. Ever done core work with a baby on your chest? How about chair pose while holding a 20 pounder? Holy burn. Have a cuddle for savasana (and forget about a traditional savasana for now because it just won't happen).
9) Don't compare your current practice to your pre baby days. It's like, don't compare how terrible your current sleep is compared to the good ole days. Why torture yourself?? Remember that yoga isn't about the asanas. You don't need a perfect flow. Can you be present and breathe on your mat? Can you practice non-attachment? Can you let go of judgement?
10) These moments are so fleeting. Adapt and remember that every day is different. When you have one of those days remind yourself that before you know it you'll have your mat to yourself again... and how lonely does that sound when you think about it?
11) Bonus: please be kind to your body. You just had a baby. It will all come back. Don't rush. Don't hurt yourself. Be gentle. Love.