Downward dog and kitty litter


Please excuse the radio silence - it's been a massive few weeks. Sicknesses, work deadlines, more sicknesses… 'take your sick kid to work day'… I'm sure if you have little ones and work full-time or part-time or run your own business or occasionally want to go to the shop to buy eggs, you'll get what I am saying. So I decided I needed to start yoga, to help calm the farm. Getting out to classes just seems to add another degree of difficulty and I've been saying for months (ok, years) that I would start doing classes - probably next week. So I decided to do a bit of web searching for something to do at home and I came across this app - Yoga Studio. Holy cat-cow. I can't rave enough about it - it's honestly amazing. I've been doing it religiously for about 3 weeks now and I can definitely feel the difference - not just in my strength, but also in the calmness I feel after doing it. It's a revelation. Yes, I'm probably a bit late to the yoga party, and everyone else is already floating their way through motherhood in a blissful state of sun salutes, but it's fashionable to be late, right?

Basically you can choose what class you want, then you download it to your phone (or iPad). There are ready-made classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced in areas like strength, flexibility or relaxation, or you can create your own custom class. The graphics are great and easy to follow, and there are classes that are only 10 minutes all the way up to 60 minutes. The 10 minute one has proven so useful for a quick stretch and de-stress when time is not on my side. And I need to point out - I have chosen the image above to go with this post for various reasons. In case you can't tell, Ryder took it (and he was pretty damn proud of that). And I'm sure you can clearly see, my house is a mess. And surprisingly I'm not a yoga goddess. I'm a busy working mum with a busy house and it's not always tidy (another revelation). I originally took some other photos to use for this post out on the deck with lovely light and a flattering pose involving me sucking in my stomach and hiding the bits I didn't want seen. But I decided to run with real life instead - in all its messy, head-chopped off, taken-by-my-child, blurry glory. Unfortunately I don't have time to get to a beach-front location in-between making school lunches and finding where the heck the wet swimming gear got stuffed last week. But that's the beauty of the app - you don't even need to get dressed for it. No I'm not suggesting nude yoga, I just mean I usually do it in my pjs first thing in the morning (luckily for you guys I decided to throw on pants for the photo). But this is how yoga currently looks for me - usually with life going on around me - Ryder trying to talk to me, the washing in a pile beside me, and the cat walking underneath me. Perfection it ain't, but I still get a lot out of it, and I think most other mums could also squeeze this into their day (and should). My mind tends to run a million miles an hour (which is one of the reasons I need it so much), so it generally runs something like this: 

- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position, close your eyes, relax your shoulders and breathe deeply.
R: Mum, I'm hungry.
Ten minutes is all I ask Ryder. Read a book.
(Sigh) ok.
- Relax and lower your head and tuck your tail bone under into cat pose.
I think I can smell cat poo.
- Inhale and move into cow pose.
Yep, that's definitely cat poo. I can't breathe. Where's Glen? Exhale! Exhale!
- Sweep your arms overhead and bend your knees deeply, moving into chair pose.
My thighs are burning. I could do with a chair right about now.
- Move forward and touch your toes for standing forward bend.
R: Mum you aren't bending nearly as much as the lady is. You need to bend down more. No, further.
- Walk your feet back into downward dog and lift your seat bones towards the ceiling.
Great, just as Glen walks past. Is he looking at my bum? Oh god, please don't look! I should have worn longer shorts.
- Bring one leg forward and bend your knee to move into runners lunge.
I'm pretty certain that cellulite wasn't there before.
- Stretch your arms and legs out and relax into corpse.
…  phew … zzzzz … 

Needless to say, I don't foresee myself headlining a yoga dvd series anytime soon. But it's something, and if I can fit it in, I'm pretty certain you can too. Time for yourself is so important (especially as a mum) and with some of the classes being only 10 minutes, there's no excuse. Ten minutes is better than none. The benefits of yoga are well-documented and scientifically supported: I'm certainly not an expert (see run-sheet above) so have a read here for the many reasons to get saluting the sun (cheat sheet: improve brain function, lower blood pressure, improve focus and memory, reduce neck and back pain, anxiety relief and lower risk of heart disease to name just a few). Download the app and join me. Or find a class to get out of the house if you can manage it. Or go and do it on a cliff-top overlooking the ocean - I won't hold it against you. Just. Make. Time. Negotiate something the kids are allowed to do during that time without interrupting you. Or just lock the bathroom door (kidding) (not kidding). Forget the washing. Find your inner goddess. Just clean out the kitty litter tray first. 

LIFEKelley Sheenan