So this is it. This is why I came. I could have picked anywhere to go with my little boy but I wanted to do yoga, and lots of yoga, so this is why I chose to come to the Holy mama yoga retreat. When you have a baby suddenly life isn’t your own anymore. You always have to think of someone else and sometimes this also means not doing what you want to do. Suddenly planning to do ‘something’ is like a military operation. So a mum and child yoga retreat was the ideal option for us. At holy mama you get to do yoga every morning for 5 mornings and in this time your child is looked after by a lovely (handpicked by the owner of Holy mama herself) carer so you are free to completely relax and not think or worry about your little one. Its win win for both mother and child. Now that is something we rarely find!
Some people here are completely new to yoga and have come to try something new and take some time out to relax. Some are mums who discovered yoga in their pregnancy (a very popular thing now to start up when pregnant to keep up light exercise and a happy and healthy body and mind) and then taken their children to mum & baby yoga classes so this is the next ideal step. Some are mums who are keen yogis and just don’t get time in their busy lives to practice as much as they wish, such as myself. And the dads all seemed to tag along for fun (yes my husband actually though it was fun once he realised it was not a hippy dippy yoga place!) and to spend quality time with their wife and child.
So each morning once your little one has been taken off to the kids club to play you head over to grab a juice which has been freshly prepared that morning by the cooks. A lovely shake a different one each day to energise the body (but not fill it up) before practice. And then its off to the outdoor yoga sala. A beautiful spot in nature to practice in the peaceful serenity of the Ibizan countryside. It is 90 if not more minutes of pure uninterrupted yoga, pranayama (breathing), asanas (the postures) and meditation (relaxation). Our yoga sessions were taught by the lovely Suzanne Faith from Canada and they were run at a pace to include and interest everyone (from beginners to experienced yogis). The practice being worked on and deepened day by day. By the end of the practice and its time to slow down, to concentrate on the breath and to relax, it was only then that remembered where I was and thoughts of ‘hows Flynn’ popped into my mind. So needless to say I was completely relaxed and at one with myself. Something I haven’t been very often in the past two and a half years.
As a Mother you are constantly thinking of your little one and putting their needs before yours. Well this was time to think of myself (knowing he was in good hands and having fun) and finally to concentrate on my own needs and well being. And what way to look after yourself by spending it outdoors in a beautiful setting practicing yoga.
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.
Ever wondered what its like to go to a yoga retreat. Or even fancied getting away with your little one, either on your own or with your other half, but to somewhere that is child (and adult) friendly and where you can simply relax, where your child can play with other children and might I add not in those brash kids clubs or soft plays (my idea of hell). Well I’ve found it and I’m going to share this amazing secret with you.
It will come as no surprise that I love yoga. I teach it and I run my own successful YogaBellies business in the southside of Glasgow. Last year I went to Ibiza for the first time. I know shock horror after 40 years of living I had never been to Ibiza. And I went to party for a friends Birthday. And it was amazing. But I didn’t see the beautiful island (just the beautiful clubs) and also I had to leave my little boy behind so I vowed I would return with him, see the island and experience it together (not at Pacha).
So on my return from my weekend of partying I was in full research mode to find something for the both of us (as I was NEVER partying again and NEVER wanting to leave my child again.. until the next time) and I stumbled across Holymama. A yoga retreat for mums and their children. In Ibiza. You couldn’t find anything more perfect than this! So I booked to go the following Summer. I somehow picked papas welcome week without realising it and my husband was keen to join us. Which I’m not going to lie I was unsure of at first as I wanted this as something for my little boy and I to experience together (writing this I am sorry hubby!) but I can safely say it turned out to be an amazing family holiday.
To add to the amazing family holiday we also spent a few days before the retreat discovering Ibiza with a toddler which was something quite novel. The amount of people when you say you are going to Ibiza say oooh are you going to party. No I’m going with my 2 and a half year old who I preferably (not always the way in Spain) like to go to bed before 8 pm. But I have to say Ibiza has it all (gorgeous beaches, pools, child friendly restaurants, play parks) its not just for the party goers. Although we did sample a little party by going to a daytime beach club, el chiringuito, with a kids club little el chiringuito (again a cool kids club right on the sand) and we didn’t really party we just sat and drunk nice rose.
So I am now currently wading though my thousands of pictures and my blogs I wrote here and there. I’m putting them together to share, to reach like minded souls, and as a memory for my family as our tans fade and we sink back into reality (but with refreshed minds and energised bodies) and before we start planning our next Holymama retreat and Ibiza family holiday.
Day 6 of the body coach 90 day SSS plan. For those who haven’t heard of this it’s a fitness and nutrition plan by the famous (and quite sexy) Joe Wicks. You eat a lot of food but good foods and do high intensity work outs.
I’m feeling positive today. Thank god as I’ve been a bit wingey to say the very least. And it can’t be worse than day 5. Saying that we’re not off to the best start after making a rolled oat breakfast (simply cannot face another egg today) and my sons reaction was blurggggh and he spat it out (just to add he’s only 2 and not on the 90 day SSS plan it’s just me and hubby but he likes to try everything) I feel the same to be fair but apparently I need to eat this breakfast, and then lunch pretty soon (we were up late which is a miracle in this house with a 2 year old but we’ve been pretty sleepy poss the lack of sugar and carbs in our diet and our lethargy vibes have been passed on). I actually felt like I had a hangover when I woke up. Furry mouth, fuzzy head, but alas no wine was involved in creating this. Again the lack of sugar in my body which is quite worrying how reliant on sugar I must be.
Keeping fit as a Mummy isn’t always easy. After having a baby all we want to do is get back in shape but after a while all those coffee and cake dates take their toll. Also when my son turned 1 and started running round Gin became my new best friend (once he had gone down to bed I may add, just to take the edge of those particularly hectic days). And time. If your little one doesn’t go to nursery and you don’t go back to work (or you do work from home like me with a little one around) when do you find time to work out??
This is why I’m doing the 90 day plan. It’s annoying when people say you don’t need to diet. Well actually I do I would love (and will now) to shed that niggly half a stone that annoys me in my jeans, but the main reason for this is to improve my diet which was slowly and steadily getting worse. Those chocolate biscuits and bottles of wine were not helping. Oh and also to support hubby on it and saying that it must be love to give up my beloved wine for three months. Also I’m learning new things. Like never go to a metafit class after eating a pile of scrambled eggs and feta. But seriously I’ve started metafit and piyo (a high intense pilates yoga class) and starting to regain my fitness. This is what is making me feel good and will keep me going. And the fact the furry mouth and fuzzy head disappeared after breakfast which it doesn’t after a few too many wines the night before!
So going back to yesterday. Day 5. Not a good day. We woke up late which is standard at the moment. Not good timing as my son has started pre school and we’ve been late both days now. After being woken up early for the past 2 years of my life I can only see the irony in this. Then after eating a pile of scrambled eggs, feta, spinach and tomatoes (Joe’s breakfast bar the rolled oats are pretty awesome and needless to say huge) I went to my first ever metafit class. I absolutely loved it but almost died on the dirty church hall floor. I have strength and balance through being a yoga instructor but this is a work out on a different level. You need stamina and lots of it. I came home to tidy up the house (there’s a lot of food prep and mess going on at the moment) before having to make my post work out meal which consisted of a huge bagel filled with meat which I had no idea where was going to fit inside me with all the eggs still gurgling around. Then I had to rush off to pick up son from pre school as I couldn’t bear to be late on the pick up too. When hubby called to say how was your first relaxing morning on your own I nearly bit his head off. My mood sucks on this diet. I miss sugar and my stomach muscles and legs are killing me. I miss booze. I’m not going to lie a glass of wine would definitely fix my current mood. A bottle would probably stop my legs from aching too but that’s just taking it too far.
Anyway I’ve woken up with a different perspective today (after the initial hangover feeling) but now hangover free I’m raring to go ready for a HIIT session and yet more piles of food. Current mood will sure to change this eve when it’s a wine free Saturday night.
I can’t describe how nice it is to work alongside a group of women who support each other and enjoy seeing each other succeed in building their own businesses. I used to work for one of the worlds largest airlines and there I was a number. A pretty impressive number after 12 years of service but still just a number. Where as at Yogabellies I’m a name, a person, a mum, a friend, a colleague, and the list goes on.
I started up my own Yogabellies business after having my little boy and I didn’t want to go back to flying. Not that I didn’t want to go back to work but I wanted to spend time watching my son grow up. I bumped into a Mum acquaintance the other day who said to me ‘how’s your baby business doing?’ My baby business? I was a little confused as I’m a yoga instructor who specialises in post and pre natal yoga. Common mistake I thought until she continued with ‘I mean I looked a doing something like that, you know anything to keep me at home and not have to make me work after having my baby. But then I realised I had to go back to the real world as I needed to make money’. Well that’s where she’s wrong and on two accounts. Firstly you don’t need to go back to ‘the real world’ your world is the real world. You can do whatever you want and make it whatever you want it to be. And secondly you can build a very successful sustainable business doing what I’m doing or whatever your dreams are. I’m a strong believer in the fact that anyone can succeed it’s just putting your mind to it. So if you own your own business and you want it to work you do everything in your power to make it work.
I’ve done this and in under a year I’ve graduated as a yoga instructor (and a pre and post natal yoga instructor!) and set up my own successful business (for both adults and babies!) and I have to say all with a toddler who refused to go to nursery running around me. Anything you want you can make happen if you put your mind to it and effort into it. Oh and to add to that my fellow Yogabellies teachers voted me teacher of the month for August. So nice to be recognised and so motivating to be recognised by such an amazing group of women after my own heart.
So go out that and achieve your dreams. And if your expecting or had a baby and don’t want to return to your old job or style of work don’t worry there are so many new and exciting opportunities out there. Yogabellies was shortlisted in workingmums.co.uk as one of the top franchisors. Doesn’t mean to say everyone is a mum and I’m also not saying this is the business for everyone. But if you are looking for a change in career for whatever reason or maybe just a change find your passion and follow it. Today I got to wear my favourite good vibes t shirt as part of my ‘uniform’ (loose word here as I live in yoga gear) and I ordered a pair of pink unicorn yoga leggings on my business account just because I can. Do what makes you happy not what you think you should be doing and let that happiness reward you.
It really annoys me when people say don’t worry it’s just a phase. Noooo really (please note the sarcasm) because this is not what I need to hear at 5.40 in the morning. Do you really think that I think my son will wake up before 7am for the rest of his life. Well let’s be honest here it’s between 5 and 7am every morning and who knows what time it will ever be and guaranteed if even a drop of wine has passed my lips the night before he will make sure it’s closer to the 5am mark. Just to give me that earlier start to the day with a hangover that shouldn’t even exist but has arrived through lack of sleep. No I’m optimistic I know this ‘phase’ will end. One day when he reaches his teens and wants to loll around in bed all morning. Oh and then wine and I will be best friends again.
Also that phase where he stopped eating dinner. Yes just stopped eating his dinner. Like every night for two months. It could be the same meal as I had made him for lunch or breakfast (and yes I tried his favourite musli for dinner at a desperate attempt) but still no. I even tried blending his chicken and vegetables making a soup and popped it in a cup with a straw. Disguised so he thought it was something more fun. Again it worked for one night before he cottoned on. Everyone’s advice after don’t worry it’s just a phase (don’t you worry I knew he would eat dinner again one day especially when he is old enough to discover the delights of a Friday night Chinese takeaway) was just let him starve he will eat when he’s hungry. Whatttttt are you kidding me why would I want my toddler waking up in the middle of the night with a rumbling tum waking me up for that bowl of musli he turned his nose up at dinner time. Anyway I laugh at this now as I watch him pile sweet corn and peas into his mouth as if he’s in the sweet corn and pea eating world guiness book of records contest of how many pieces of sweet corn and peas can you eat in one minute. Also just to add they are his favourite foods (said with a smirk on my face).
And lastly not to forget my favourite oh it’s just a phase of him not wanting to get into the car seat. Well I know that eventually when he’s sat in his own nice car there won’t be screams and flailing arms and legs followed by the totally rigid body which won’t be eased by any means into that car seat. Oh by the way which is always done in a busy car park normally whilst another mum and baby is waiting for your parent and child spot. Meanwhile that mum has a smug look on her face as her little one is snoozing in the back of the car oblivious to everything.
So yes of course everything is just a phase that’s how our babies and toddlers evolve. It’s just how long are these phases going to last so at least I can plan a night with a glass (ok bottle) of wine, a dinner out with no food flying around the restaurant and a stress free car journey with no smug mums with children who havnt started this phase yet…