How Pregnancy & Motherhood have Impacted my Teaching & Practice
I have to admit it took me a while to get my head around being pregnant and to really enjoy the little baby dweller that was growing within. Once I finally realised how cool it actually was I really wanted to zone in and learn from the experience not only personally but also with my teacher hat on. Here are a few things I discovered so far.
Its tough being a beginner
Coming back to movement post baby has made me realise on an almost daily basis how tough it is to be a beginner and to do something you haven't done in a long time. This is something I will definitely take into my teaching. As instructors and advanced students it really is easy to loose touch with the basics and remember how important they are. I have much more respect and admiration for those clients who haven't exercised in years and then have the courage to come to class and start from scratch!
Yes, modifications are important but that doesn't mean make everything really easy
It's ok to challenge pregnant clients in the right way and for them to get a sweat up! I'm not saying be silly as it's a very unique and different experience for every individual but remember that pregnancy is not a sickness! The classes I enjoyed most was when the instructor challenged me in different ways.
It's harder to focus and be present in class
I used to get frustrated with clients that just couldn't follow simple instructions in class but My first few classes post baby where so damn hard to concentrate in. Going from looking after buba 24 hours a day to finally finding an hour to myself in class is actually a difficult mental transition. I often had to repeat the instructors words in my head 3 times before I could make my body do the movement....my brain power was just not the same!
Lack of sleep, being away from my baby and a million other things meant that it was really difficult to be present in the room and reconnect with my body and mind in the way I had previously. It just takes time, so be patient with your Muma's coming back to class.
Confidence & Clarity Booster
I was at my first Level 2 class a few weeks ago and as the instructor encouraged us to kick up against the wall in a Forearm Balance I suddenly felt fear creep in. I've always been a bit unsure of myself in this exercise but this time as I felt those feelings and my body tense up a little voice crept in my head and said " Sarah you created a fricken human, just kick your bloody foot up, what's the worst that could happen!" and I did, and I floated up unexpectedly and it felt amazing!
Fear and different feelings are always going to come up but I feel so much more confident and clear about what's important and what's not. I just don't care about all the bullshit that used to worry me previously. It's like I've really got my own back now and my self talk is just a whole lot nicer (most days!).
It's about priorities and it's hard work
I think sometimes as instructors, people see you at the front of the room making things look easy and assume that it was always that way for you. I've learnt that it's sometimes important to also share our own challenges and experiences so your clients understand you know how it feels to be at the beginning.
Of course if you are strong, fit and healthy before buba then you are going to bounce back quicker but at the end of the day whether you are coming back from having a baby or injury you still need to do the work, to walk the walk, be kind to yourself and make your practice a priority. It's that simple and It's that hard!
Your Community is so important
Lets be honest, motherhood can be really isolating no matter how much you get yourself out and about. But if you set yourself up with people you trust and can rely on it makes it a lot easier. When I walked into the studio for the first time post baby I felt like a rock star. All the instructors and all the clients where encouraging and happy to see me back. Every class I get to they give me encouraging words of support and ask me how I am and I can not even explain how much that makes my day!
I will definitely make sure that when I'm teaching that I also make space to be someone's 'cheerleader' if they need that kind of encouragement. You just never know what's going on in people's lives.
My home Practice is better than it ever was!
I learnt pretty quickly that If I wanted to be consistent in my practice than i needed to find little pockets of time through out the day rather than a big block. Now my home practice looks more like 4-5 mini workouts or flows at different times of the day. It's easy to think that you only improve by dedicating a solid hour to work out but every little bit counts and you start to see improvements pretty quickly!
It's also become really important for me to have some go to flow sequences for when my body is really tight and stiff from breastfeeding or when i'm low on energy. Having these in my back pocket where i don't even need to think has really helped with my mental health!
The trick to a consistent home practice though is to dedicate a space for it and always have your Mat and props out and not hiding away! This way it is always front of mind and makes it easier to just jump on the mat for a quick stretch here and there!