Excerpted from ‘Yoga for Motherhood’ by Naomi Annand (published by Bloomsbury)
Model: Sharon Martin
Photo Credit: Scott MacSween
For lot of us Motherhood and anxiety go hand-in-hand. When you aren’t worrying about the kids – about their fruit eating, verb conjugation, whether or not they will ever leave home – we-re worrying about ourselves. Whether or not we lived up to the impossible targets we set ourselves. How we could have been more patient, less pushy, more kind. This is at its most acute right at the start when you’re suddenly thrust into this new role and your mind seems to be fizzing from morning to night.
I remember scrolling WhatsApp threads to see if anyone was having a hard time like me, worrying that they were (it’s always going to be like this!), worrying that they weren’t (it’s only me!). If you’re at that stage now, know that it is hard. But know that it will change. Nothing is forever. When you find yourself entering into the tailspin of your mind, try this mindful sequence. Before you start, orientate yourself in your room. Lean in to textures around you, your mat or the floor, breathe in the smell of your room. Welcome in all that is there as part of the experience.
FINAL REPOSE: Body Scan For lots of us, motherhood is stressful. It’s tiring and emotional and it’s much harder to be on time for things (which for those of us who are sticklers for punctuality is itself a great source of stress). The trick isn’t to think you can eradicate the stress. Instead, you have to learn to manage it. You need to work with it, rather than pushing it down. I have found that active rest helps keep my hormones in check, my immune system boosted, and my digestion working well. Start by lying on the floor on your back. Make sure you’re warm enough and you have cushions to provide extra comfort if you need it. Set the tone with a simple intention: ‘I am here, that’s enough.’ As you breathe in and out, feel your body receiving your intention to be here. Think of your whole body as a lung and breathe into it, feeling its full expansion and willingness to be filled. As you breathe out, feel where your body is in contact with the ground and see if you can surrender completely to gravity. As your muscles relax and the tension softens, tune into the weight of your body. Keep dropping, getting heavier and heavier until paradoxically you achieve a kind of lightness.
Teaching yoga since 2002, Naomi has developed a deeply compassionate style of teaching that emphasises the therapeutic benefits of yoga and its potential to uplift and inspire. In 2012, she set up Yoga on the Lane with the intention of creating a dynamic community of teachers and students united by their commitment to practicing mindful, breath-led, vinyasa yoga. In 2015, she designed the 200hr Yoga on the Lane Teacher Training Programme, which has set more than fifty brilliant new teachers off on their own paths. After hosting her first kids yoga training she is now piloting a scheme, Yoga Club: Proper Yoga for Kids with the aim to to get yoga taught more widely in schools nation-wide. Books: October 2019, ’Yoga: A Manual for Life’ currently being translated into six languages and 2022 ‘Yoga for Motherhood’ published by Bloomsbury.