How to practice yoga with kids without losing your sh**

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I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently how I practice yoga with kids without losing my sh**. (I LOVE the contradiction in this question by the way!).  So today I’m explaining how I deal with my 3 year old jumping on my back when I’m in already difficult poses and stay calm even when he is climbing all over me.

 

In all honesty, the answer is different depending on the day. Some days I’m all mother zen and am happy to include them in my practice, other days the thought of including them makes my skin crawl. (I’m probably not meant to admit that, but it’s the honest truth so there you have it)

 

So the first step is probably recognising which day is which. If I try to practice which them on those days it’s likely no ones going to enjoy themselves and we’d be better off just going for a walk or something where we can all get some space.

 

On those days, I most definitely wait until bedtime to practice or I escape to the studio if I can manage it. (I’m averaging being able to escape to the studio, once every three weeks and this is with a husband and sister-in-law who lives with us – so I understand that this is not an option for everyone).

 

On the days I do feel up to practicing yoga with kids, this is how I do it without losing my sh**.

 

+ I accept right from the start that it’s not going to look anything like my solo practice.  If I don’t accept it I find myself (internally) fighting it and the whole practice ends up feeling like a struggle.

 

+ Buy a second mat. Just by having a second mat you double your room to practice and whilst it doesn’t mean they’ll always stay on it, you will get more time to yourself. (Especially whilst the novelty factor of their own mat is high).

 

+ I include them as much as I can and as much as they want to.  I let and encourage Eamon to climb on me when it works and use his body weight as a good thing.  (works well in squats and warriors)  This way he is less likely to jump on me in the poses I can’t have him on me (any back bends, etc where it’s dangerous).

 

+ I wait for him to lose interest. Currently Eamon is pretty much only interested in yoga (anything really) for about ten minutes max.  So if I play with him for the first ten, the chances of me getting some time to myself afterwards are high.  For the record this doesn’t work for the baby and he tends to be the opposite and will let me practice for ten minutes and after that he wants picking up.  This is when I usually set the two of them up with something together right near me.  Rory idolises his big brother so this works well.

 

+ I grab minutes to practice when I can.  In an ideal world I’d have long stretches of uninterrupted time to practice.  In the real world catching 20 minutes is a miracle.  I leave my mat set up but if you don’t have the space, leave it somewhere where you walk past it and see it regularly.  Then whenever a 5 minute window opens up I take it and jump on my mat.  It may not feel like much at the time, but you’d be surprised that it all adds up.

 

If you’d like to see an example of how I practice with kids you can check this video I posted a while ago of Yoga for Mums with kids in tow.  Though life does look different now that Rory is on the move.

 

Way back when Eamon was a toddler I wrote this post about practicing with a toddler so you might want to check that one out as well.

 

I’d love to know if you have any great tips for practicing with kids.  How do you make it work so you don’t lose your sh**?!

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