Last year, I wrote about starting a home yoga practice in general, and it got passed around the yoga-webs. Now that I’m 16 months into being a parent, I found that the challenges are… well… more challenging.
First of all, it’s so much harder to leave the house when a child is in the picture. You can’t very well leave him or her in the confines of the backyard the way you can with a dog. So home practice it is.
Here are 5 tips for keeping a home yoga practice with the new challenges of parenthood.
1. Make a deal with your baby daddy/mama. Everyone needs a break from tending to the baby, so make a deal with your spouse. He can take the kid out for a walk while you practice or play (quietly) in another room. If you can get some uninterrupted yoga time, then the trade off can be that you take one of the morning shifts on the weekend so he can sleep in on a Saturday. Find some kind of fair middle ground.
2. Designate a time to get on your mat. Babies need consistency and routine so they feel secure. And households need a schedule when there’s so much to manage with kids. By designating a time for you to get on your mat, it makes it easier to work around other chores and responsibilities. If this time is when the baby is awake, then he or she will start to learn that it’s “mama’s yoga time” when that mat is unrolled.
3. Eliminate as many physical barriers as possible. Real estate in the living room (or wherever you can fit your 68″ x 24″ mat) is rare and precious. But make sure to create a space to practice. Make it some place where it’s easy to toss all the toys into a storage bin or roll up a rug or shove the coffee table aside. The last thing you need is a full room clean-up before you can practice.
4. Make the best use of your time. You won’t always have 45, 60 or 90 minutes to practice. In fact, you most likely won’t unless you’re practicing while everyone else is asleep at night. So focus your practice on specific areas. Maybe get started with some sun salutations to get blood moving, and then dive right into those lower back stretches if you’re feeling achy. 15 minutes of focused practice is always better than nothing.
5. Have fun! If you’ve made the time and space and have the cooperation of your spouse to keep the kiddo occupied, then enjoy yourself. Be proud that you’ve made the effort to take care of your body, mind and soul instead of letting parenthood take over who you are individually. It’s so important to be kind to yourself when all of your focus is on a little one.