This article first appeared on the Nottingham Baby Fayre website on 1st April 2012; The Nottingham Baby Fayre
Also on the Yoga Home
What this class is
Pampering is the right word to describe this three-hour extended yoga session for Mums, a regular one-off Saturday event at the Yoga Home. Run once every term, three times a year, Yoga Home students who are also Mums are invited to a well deserved rest and relaxation event at the Iona School in Sneinton, an ideal venue for a few hours away from the kids. In this calming environment, in the schools kindergarden, students are led through two one and a half hour yoga sessions, broken by a short break for tea and healthy nibbles (Green and Blacks chocolate, oat crackers and homemade flapjack). At the end of the morning students can stay for a fuddle, a shared lunch, which always includes Ameet’s delicious homemade dahl, plus lots of other scrumptious food brought in by attendees. The whole event is a wonderful combination of yoga and socialising; three rare hours of yoga, plus a chance to meet up with friends from past pregnancy and postnatal yoga classes.
An inner sanctuary
As mums we are constantly on the go, thinking about and serving the needs of our children, juggling running a household, caring for our children and often our partners, plus for many doing paid work outside of the home as well. There is rarely any time in the day to simply sit back and just be, enjoying the present moment and taking a long, slow breathe, collecting our thoughts and paying attention to ourselves. In this electronic, fast-paced age our need to just be is more necessary than ever, as we are rarely unplugged, seldom in a space where we are able to listen to our inner mind and let go of all the clutter we are holding on to. In this constant chatter, racing about serving the needs of others, it is very easy to neglect ourselves. This is where yoga comes in. It is a safe, quiet place in which to let go, to listen to our bodies and our minds, in an attempt to unite them. Whilst everyone benefits tremendously from yoga, or some other form of deep relaxation practice, for mothers the benefits may be even more apparent, because in giving this gift to ourselves we are also giving this to our children, offering them a calmer, happier role model in which to follow.
It is wonderful for those Mums who are able to attend regular yoga sessions, but this is not always possible, due to the many commitments Mums juggle on a daily basis. However, this pampering event offers mums who rarely get the chance to practice yoga time out from the busyness of our everyday lives. Our bodies and are minds are crying out for this escape to a quiet sanctuary, a morning of healing, reflection and revitalisation. Even Mums who are fortunate enough to be able to attend regular yoga sessions, this event provides an extended, deeper space to unwind and practice yoga, simply because of its length. In this time students can really let go, let their minds and bodies become stiller, enabling a deeper communion between mind and body.
I have certainly found this to be the case; although I am fortunate enough to attend two weekly yoga sessions per week I always look forward to these extended pampering sessions because they offer a richer, deeper experience.
At the beginning of each session Hannah asks students to introduce themselves and say a word or two about why they are here. Every student replies with a version of the same need, to relax. This need to relax is achieved through a combination of yoga postures and poses, including the Salutation to the Sun, a flowing series of poses, as well as other familiar yoga postures. This more active work is complemented by a series of meditations and visualisation, this quieter, interior work forming the bulk of the class. For instance, during the last pampering session in March we visualised walking in a beautiful spring garden, feeling the sun gently caressing our backs, the soft grass underfoot, hearing the running water in the stream, the birds singing in the tress, as the aroma of sweet smelling flowers wafted from their stems. I really found an inner sanctuary in this space, a garden in which to reward my body and my mind through long stretches, slow breathing, humming and beautiful visualisations.
I saw on the faces of the other students a similar sense of calm, as we sat chatting after the session, munching on all our shared food, a lovely, communal way to wind-up the morning. As we left to join our respective families we could all breathe a little more deeply, could give a little more wholly to our children, as we had given ourselves a rare gift for a mother, time for ourselves.