We’ve all seen the plethora of ‘Yoga Classes’ doing the rounds on the internet at the moment with silly gimmicks. I’m not offended by them as a lot of teachers are. Personally, I think anything that brings people to Yoga, even in a non-direct and somewhat ridiculous and contradictory route, ultimately can only be a good thing. But still … Goat Yoga!? And any Yoga involving alcohol is completely missing the point. So I’ve decided with this in mind, it is the perfect time to jump on the band wagon of this Yoga marketing fad and introduce to the world ….. Dinosaur Yoga.
I have two young boys; The Boy is two and a half and Baby is five months. I am sponsored by caffeine and toast, not the greatest advert for a Yoga Teacher and Osteopath to be honest but we are surviving and that's a big win. The children are alive and happy (as much as children ever are). Our house looks and sounds like Jurassic Park …. now is the time to return to work.
As a breastfeeding Mum this will always a bit of a hurdle and trying to claw a bit of your individual life back is near on impossible sometimes. As a Yoga Teacher the pressure to resume a daily practice was beginning to feel like an oppressive weight. I kept thinking “right I must do some yoga” and then never finding the time; The Boy just climbs on me, licks me and drags me away by my hair to play with dinosaurs or invades my mat with these plastic, colourful, interpretations of extinct reptiles that dominate the décor of my house. I would get frustrated, the mat would remain unused and the Yoga would never get done.
The consequences of this were more physical pain from the hours of breast feeding at night; more stress on top of the normal stuff stay at home mum's experience and no headspace whatsoever. These things, which my Yoga practice always dealt with pre-motherhood, were now beginning to encroach on my life.
I realised that part of the problem was my pre-conceived idea of what is a realistic practice with two young children five months post partum. This pressure and feeling of inadequacy is fuelled by the unobtainable post-natal Yoga workout images and videos vomited all over social media. So I decided instead to accept that my life is not the same as it was. Just get on and do the Yoga anyway, even if it wasn’t perfect. Especially if its wasn't perfect. DOING SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING, even if doesn’t meet your unrealistic expectations.
So I invited the dinosaurs (of which we have a whole herd) on to my Yoga mat: triceratops, stegosaurus, parasaurolophus, pachycephalasaurus (I had no idea what these dinosaurs were called until I realised helpfully that toy manufacturers write the names of them on their bellies). I had an extra mat for The Boy (and his dinosaurs) and just set a loose target of trying to do a few rounds of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations to those of you that don’t speak an ancient, dead, Indian language). It’s a great all-round practice where you can achieve quite a lot in a relatively brief space of time and is totally adaptable to how your body is feeling on the day.
So how did it go? Well I achieved something and learnt some things about myself and life on the way. I did create some space in my spine and joints that my body desperately needed. I managed five, very interrupted but wonderfully healing, Sun Salutations in a kind and loving way for my body (in between the climbing, licking and crawling going on around me).
I had some fun with The Boy; he started trying to do downward dog and stand on his head. Swapping yoga mats with him along the way become a bit of a game and we had a lovely time together.
Most importantly however I PRACTICED YOGA and have continued to do it every day in this way with no attachment to the results. Dinosaur Yoga is totally different to how I thought Yoga should be done but truly it is a special practice. I stayed calm in the chaos of the Jurassic Period enveloping me and felt much better for the inclusion and acceptance of a Triceratops onto my mat.
That was until The Boy decided to pull out my breast pads and slap me round the face with them ….
That I decided was the end of the practice NAMASTE.
Aimee Newton is a qualified Osteopath and has been teaching yoga for 15 years.
Telephone 07968 160657