So its not just the mums (and dads) who get to do yoga at holy-mama but the kids get to practice too. Yoga sessions for those old enough to join in so my little one was there as hes a baby yogi. Children’s yoga was out on the grass with space to run around. The yoga mat is no child’s yoga space the whole space is a child’s yoga space! They played with glitter and feathers in the sunshine creating adventures and friends.
To add to that my baby yogi and I practiced around the pool in the afternoons. Just throwing out a few downdogs and tree poses to impress all the other babies and toddlers. Baby and toddler yoga is lovely way to stretch their little bodies out, interact with others and best of all relax (who doesn’t love a relaxed baby or toddler!)
So we awoke in the mornings at the holy mama yoga retreat to the sounds of chattering children happily running around . There’s nothing nicer than the sound of children happy and free. My son miraculously slept in every morning (all the clean fresh air of Ibiza trust me this was amazing) and we would wake and help ourselves to breakfast before the carers arrived to look after the children. Our carer (a beautiful, patent Swiss lady) would come along and take my little boy off my hands making me free. Childless. A strange concept to me.
So that’s free to go and do yoga. And that’s 90 minutes of uninterrupted yoga which living with a toddler is another strange concept to me. So 90 minutes if not more of pranayama (breathing), yoga postures and relaxation and time to meditate. On the first day when it came to relaxation Suzanne the yoga instructor said to imagine someone who you loved and who you were building a relationship with, my son immediately came into my mind. My son! I had forgotten I had a son! Now that is the longest I have gone without thinking of him in 2 and a half years (well maybe bar that time when I was partying in Ibiza last year!). But that is how relaxed and at one with myself I was. The outdoor yoga sala was by one villa and the ‘kids club’ where my son was being looked after was in another villa. Just enough distance to come get the mums if a child was upset and far enough not to hear the cries of the children. Perfect.
So after yoga there was time for a facial or pedicure to really relax before having lunch. A child free lunch where you could actually eat and not have to force feed a child or mop up food. Every mums dream. After lunch it was time to go pick up your child and yes by then you really really miss them. Time to go swimming or take a drive off round the island maybe to a local beach or even go grab some food (my husband was overdosing on tofu so we would tapas and sangria hunt in the afternoons whilst Flynn napped). After a morning alone full of quality time it’s time to reunite feeling relaxed, revitalized and ready to tackle the toddler world again.
There’s nothing better than having your lunch and dinner freshly prepared and served to you. All fresh, organic ingredients whizzed up into superb platters of food by amazing cooks. And on top of that meals for the little ones and different food for the adults. Saying that my little one just wanted the adults coconut spicy soup. But in a plastic cup with the number 7 on it. Alright then! And then not to forget which was a great surprise (when your at a yoga retreat) some bottles of Spanish rioja and sauv blanc placed around to help yourself to if you wish. When in Spain!… Still detoxing though with all the delicious vegetarian delights. And even if your little one just wants to run and play in the beautiful gardens that’s ok as there’s plenty of healthy snacks going around too.
So finally we have arrived at our beautiful Ibizan family yoga retreat. After several days of getting used to the Spanish way of life of siestas and sangria my husband, my son (who had siestas only) and I have made our way inland to the beautiful villas where the holy mama yoga retreat is being held. Stunning is the word. Set in the middle of no where, two villas housing several mamas (some papas) and lots of children. Lots and lots of children of varying ages from small babies to big babies to toddlers all the way up to an 11 year old, who all bring a lovely vibe to this beautiful setting.
So the rooms are beautiful and the villas are tastefully decorated. There is a couple of swimming pools and lots of grassed space for the children to run around on whilst the parents can laze on hammocks. My toddler is loving life. There is a trampoline. And a whole heap of new pals and a whole heap of new toys. This is heaven on earth for him. And on top of that there are carers who come in to look after your children (yes really!) for the morning each morning whilst you get to go and do yoga. So now it’s heaven on earth for the parents too. So whilst my son bounces up and down on the trampoline with his new pals I can relax and start to find my inner zen.
So my little toddler came and helped me teach my Yogabellies Mum & Baby class the other day. Being an experienced yogi (practising since he was 6 weeks old) he thought he would come and teach the babies a few moves. He did well and even worked his way in and out of downward facing dog impressing everyone. Well the mums really as the babies were busy rolling around looking cute. And this is when I realised my little one is no longer a baby and is now a full on little boy.
I looked around at the babies laying on the pillows waiting for their little legs and arms to be eased into different yoga poses (preparing them for crawling, standing and walking) and then looked at my little man jumping up and down, running around and flinging himself into his own poses. Not to mention flinging himself on top of the babies, my yoga doll, spare mats in the corner and basically anything he could find to fling himself onto. But what a sense of achievement came over me realising I was responsible for helping advance my little one and help shape him into this little boy, this crazy little boy full of fun and energy.
Now I’m not going to lie it did come to about half way through the class and I was sweating from running around the room trying to rein him back in. But who wants a sensible quiet child with no personality (I say this to try and reason with myself every day). It was the point where we were on the second round of sun salutations (one more to go) and I looked over to the corner of the room as it was suspiciously quiet and he had my aromatherapy diffuser in his hands. You know one of those things full of water and attached to an electric plug. Ok that’s cool just one yoga ninja jump over to grab it out of his little hands and hope the babies cry over his screams of a lost new toy.
So mum & baby yoga is a lovely way to provide gentle exercise and create a beautiful bond and create a happy free spirited little yogi. But I remembered why Flynn and I stopped going to our own mum & baby classes (not until he was an active 10 month old I might add) and practised at home. Saying that from our practise he can now do a mean downward dog, tree pose, standing forward bend and pigeon pose (even if I say so pretty impressive for a 15 month old) so we need to help all the other toddlers out there do this. So mum & toddler yoga classes are on their way to Glasgow Southside just in talks with venues and doing the class plans! Anyone interested in mum & baby and mum & toddler yoga drop me a line!
Well mine and Flynns yoga classes every Wednesday are coming to an end. A very abrupt end. I used to love the days when I would take along a half sleeping baby to a class pop him down on the floor do a few yoga poses above him and every now and again look down check he’s still sleeping/ laying there/ smiling etc etc but now it’s all changed. Now he’s crawling (erm not to mention standing and thinking he can walk) it’s a totally new ball game. I sit there and engage in a bit of pre yoga breathing. Close eyes, breath in breath out, breath in breath out. Quick hold on, open my eyes where’s my son??? Arghhhh where is my son?? Ok found him, he’s on the other side of the room licking a radiator, ok fab he’s still in the room. As much as I love a bit of mother son time especially doing something we both love it’s not so relaxing anymore.
Baby yoga is an amazing thing in so many ways. For mum it gets you involved in some light exercise. New mums always want to shed a little post baby weight although never have the energy to do anything too hectic. Trust me I tried it all including both buggy pump and buggy fit. Yes two different outdoor park activities in the hope that one would be easier and make me look like a super model. But sigh no, they both left me wanting to curl up in a bush afterwards wishing my son’s blanket was a little bigger to wrap around me (maybe it would be after losing a little more post baby weight??) and his bottle was filled with nice warming tea (did I say tea I meant a nice warming Merlot) rather than quite possibly curdling formula. Also not to mention it’s a great way to meet other new mums and babies. So baby yoga a definite ‘must do’ not just for babies but for mums too.
But the benefits for baby are outstanding. Just the other day our son was dancing around his playroom (ok he was furniture walking past the TV) and I noticed just how co ordinated he was for so young. I know every parent thinks they have a child genius when they do something new (something a little like this “Omg he’s talking he just said mum, really he just said it mummmmmmm omg he’s actually talking!”). But no really the strength he has is pretty much that of Muhammad Ali (I know that after receiving a left hook to my eye this morning) and this strength surpasses both his dad and me so he must have got it from somewhere and he’s not been going to boxing classes.
So YogaBellies Mum & Baby classes opening soon in Glasgow Southside for all mums and babies from 12 weeks until mobile and by then I will aim to get toddler yoga up and running so there’s no abrupt end to their yoga class days!
Now I should be a pro at this. Working as a flight attendant for 12 years defiantly taught me one thing.. How to pack a suitcase. Now I’m not going to lie sometimes you have a packing faux pas for example the time I packed for a 3 day layover in Hong Kong under the belief all Asian countries were hot all year round. How was I to know it got very cold in winter. Well at least I amused some of the locals. One old man in particular when he came up to me pointed and said “you summer me winter”. “Yeah yeah whatever” I said through chattering teeth.
So anyways a few faux pas aside I’m generally quite good at packing well that is until I started packing for two. (And not my husband I hasten to add although I might have to start packing for three as last time he thought it was a good idea to go to Mexico for a weeks beach holiday with one pair of swimming trunks… I know right not just the shock horror of having the same outfit on in every holiday photo but those shorts were pretty much walking back from Mexico on their own).
So the second person is Flynn and although you would think babies don’t really need much (I mean they are tiny right and all their tiny clothes are tiny right) this couldn’t be further from the truth. You basically need to take everything just in case it’s needed (yes I know you can buy most stuff in most countries but to be fair who wants to be searching for the equivalent of Boots when you could be chasing after your small child around the poolside making sure he doesn’t fall in, constantly lathering him in factor 50 so you don’t get a sunburnt baby and finding things to amuse them out of thin air as you haven’t packed enough toys and have already been swimming 5 times today. Sorry where was that Boots again? Is it in a mall somewhere? Maybe I’ll just pop off there for a couple of hours on my own…
So just in case of any eventuality you pack everything for them which results in not a lot for you unless you want to pay ridiculous amounts for excess luggage. This ranges from baby nail clippers in case of a jagged nail emergency (anyone who has a baby with a pincer grip like Flynn’s will totally understand my nail emergency) through to larger items like something for them to sleep in (yes that sleepyhead grand is coming too. Somehow).
So needless to say packing starts at least two weeks in advance and that’s after two weeks of extensive list writing. And that’s just the stuff for the suitcase what about the hand luggage? Now there’s two types of mums travelling. One who comes onboard overloaded with everything and prepared for any situation including a delay of 18 hours and a diversion to the other side of the world. I used to look at these mums and think why not just travel lighter and make your life easier?? Well I am now one of these mums as the other type of mum packs nothing and annoys the cabin crew all flight by ringing the call bell every two minutes asking for the items they didn’t bring resulting in praying their baby doesn’t actually need anything (yeah right) as they have already annoyed the crew on the first 15 times of pressing that bell and then they too scared to do it again (and baby actually really does need something). Only problem with mum number one is when the plane actually lands it takes forever to pack up all said stuff plus hold onto a sleeping baby (who by the way was awake all flight) with the cabin crew now glaring at you as they are dying to get off and go to the hotel to sleep (I lie the cabin crew are glaring as they are dying to get off go to the hotel and drink. Remember cabin crew are normally young and single and don’t care if baby has his pacifier but do care is the bar still open by the time they reach the hotel).
Anyways back to list writing and packing we are on a countdown…
Have you ever seen someone walking through the park pushing a pram and painting their nails (fingers not toes now that would be impressive) well that was me today. Quite a good way to manage your time effectively although not my first choice as one it is actually not as easy as it sounds and two you don’t half get some funny looks from other fellow park goers. I tried to paint my nails this morning but of course as soon as the polish was on Flynn decided to wake up early hence no drying time what so ever resulting in smudged nails. Then he decided he didn’t want to nap in the afternoon so to the park it was (mummy tip: a walk around the park equals guaranteed sleep for a baby) Now walking around the park on a brisk sunny day with a sleeping baby is very enjoyable and relaxing unfortunately when you have a million and one things to do it suddenly becomes the opposite as you can’t get any of them done. So this is how I ended up painting my nails whilst pushing the pram around the park. Multi tasking at its best.
Just to say I have a Birthday party to go to tonight so it’s not that I just fancied pretty coloured nails it’s more of a needs must situation.