Wednesday, 7 February 2007

About baby yoga

I never thought I'd be the kind of mum who did classes (you know - massage on Monday, music on Tuesday, art & craft on Wednesday and so on) but I have to say that baby yoga has turned out to be my saving grace. That's even more impressive considering I'm a self-confessed yoga-hater (well, ex-yoga-hater now).

The class I go to is actually Yoga for Mums, I just call it baby yoga because you can take your baby with you. It's held at the Active Birth Centre in Archway, and run by a lovely Irish lady called Lynn Murphy.

My secret nickname for Lynn is the Baby Whisperer because she only needs to look at Jazzie, or pretty much any baby, smile and say hello in that beautiful, resonant voice of hers and the bub goes instantly smiley and gooey. It's like watching magic.

Being a yoga expert, Lynn is also very chilled, willowy thin, and looks about 25 though I guess she must be a lot older than that. And she has an Orla Kiely purse like mine so she's obviously very cool ;-) In short, I like her very much.

So we get to the class, have a little chat with the other mums, coo over the babies and then start the class. We normally start by relaxing on our backs and focusing on our breath. Then we start working the core muscles (around the pelvic floor) and take it from there to more floor work or standing stretches. It's excellent for my lower back, which has been quite troublesome ever since a bad car accident about 10 years ago, and I'm sure has helped my body cope much better with the stresses and strains of looking after a little baby all day. I'm one of the least flexible people I know, but the amazing thing is that I (almost) never feel self conscious about how I'm doing compared to the others and I think that's why I like the class so much. On good days (i.e. when Jazzie is quite happy and doesn't need a lot of attention) I tend to leave feeling about 3 inches taller and with a big grin on my face.

Incidentally, the Active Birth Centre is the place where Naomi Stadlen holds the mother's talking groups that formed much of the content of her book What Mother's Do. Tash, my sister's best friend, gave the book to me as a present when Jazzie was only a few months old, and for new mums it's worth a read.

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