My LushTums with Laura Journey: Yoga – Bump, Baby and Beyond

Wednesday 2nd November 2016

Pregnancy Yoga

A cold Saturday morning in January 2016; that’s when my LushTums yoga journey started.

Missuswolf blankets set up in circle in room for pregnancy yoga

A sneak peek at Postnatal Yoga for mamas and babas

Seven months pregnant and ploughing through a busy work schedule (my own doing – I felt like I had the energy to cope) this was my chance at ‘time out’.

To bond with the bump.

You see, for someone who likes to be organised and plan things,

I was pretty nonchalant about the whole baby thing.

Due in March, I flippantly put off doing anything remotely baby related until after Christmas. I think I was clinging on to whatever I had left of my old life.

Making the most of it.

I’d never considered going to any ante-natal classes (gasp) and pregnancy yoga hadn’t crossed my mind.

I went to they gym right up until I was twenty weeks pregnant. It’s here that I experienced round ligament pain in my lower abdomen and back as well as mild SPD.

So the gym stopped and that was the start of all the belts and bands.

Then I learnt a fellow friend was pregnant.

This fellow friend suggested that we go to pregnancy yoga together and she’d found one that had just started up. Unfortunately she wasn’t far enough on to join the group yet and I would only be able to get to a few before they broke up for Christmas.

A New Years Resolution was made there and then for us to both join Lush Tums with Laura Pregnancy Yoga in the January.

We rocked up that Saturday to a local gym in Blyth where we were met by the lovely Laura. This session was actually free as it was a taster session.

The room was set out with yoga mats, a block, a pillow and blanket each which were laid out in a semi-circle. Laura had her own set up in front of this, alongside a heater (the room was cold and it was mid-winter) relaxing music and a burning incense stick.

As soon as you walked in, there was on overall sense of calm – and camaraderie.

I didn’t really talk much about my pregnancy at work as I was always out of the office on a project. Plus it was a male dominated office. There was only so much (and so far!) I could talk about.

So this hour and a half on a Saturday morning was like the mother-ship; somewhere to retreat and immerse myself entirely in being pregnant. With no distractions.

The first part of the session started with Laura introducing herself, the housekeeping and what we should expect from the class.

To begin with, she went round in turn and asked:

  • How far along you were
  • What kind of week you’d had
  • Any specific aches or pains
  • Anything else you’d like to share

I honestly felt like I was at pregnancy therapy.

I’m not one to normally open up in group environments but I couldn’t help myself here.

Especially as the weeks went by and I had to come to terms with a breach baby and an inevitable section.

This was then followed by yoga stretches. These were catered towards specific areas of the body that people were having problems with. It was great for loosening up, my neck especially. It creaked really bad when we did the head rolling but my god it felt good.

It also helped ease my lower back pain.

The session involved meditation. We put one hand on our heart and the other on our bumps.

I enjoyed this as I probably went through most of my pregnancy in denial. Not in a bad way. I’ve always liked to be busy and on my feet and the bigger I got, the more I had to come to terms with my lack of movement.

I couldn’t race around anymore. I would get frustrated that I couldn’t do things . The meditation helped me connect with my bump and try to shift my focus.

The session then ended with a fifteen minute relaxation period. We all lay on our left hand sides, our heads on the pillows and I’d use the block to support my bump, with the blanket covering us.

Laura then played Steven Halpern Comfort Zone as she turned down the lights and guided us through meditation into relaxation.

This was delightful. And I nearly always fell asleep.

It was the perfect way to start the weekend.

As the weeks went by, you’d watch as the girls whose bumps you’d come to know, gradually disappeared.

The first one to go for me was Rachael.

Life has a funny way of making your paths cross and a whole new part of your life exploding.

I remember Rachael running late for one particular session as she had been taking a Tots and Tums class beforehand (see Tots and Tums).

My ears pricked up.

Life after birth.

I needed to find something to be part of to keep me sane.

Laura encouraged us to keep in touch by creating a Facebook page for the Lush Tums Bumps and Birth side and one for the Bumps, Births and Babies side.

I watched as Rachael left to have Evie. I heard about her groups and what she did through Laura.

So when I had Ella, there was an overwhelming sense of belonging when Laura invited me to the Bumps, Births and Babies. She announced Ella’s birth to everyone and welcomed us both to the group.

It’s here that I found my mammy tribe. It was slow in forming as we were all at different stages of pregnancy, but over the summer, there was a few births and out of that was born Cake Club.

We’d become Warriors.

And the lovely thing about it is that the mammies in the tribe, we weren’t all at pregnancy yoga at the same time. I’d left when some of the other girls joined. They’ve since had their babies and we’ve all met up at the Tots and Tums classes.

A nice little support network.

We swapped stories on how we had used pregnancy yoga in labour.

Missuswolf woman in mothering lotus

Nadia using pregnancy yoga during labour

 

Nadia’s waters had broken. She invited me over for a 1-2-1 and we had such a beautiful session. We did yoga as well as mothering lotus meditation mudrah.

My Birth Story

Again, I think I was in denial that I was in the very early stages of labour. I remember experiencing strong period-pain type cramps on the Wednesday night.

As a first time mother I didn’t know what to expect.

I stupidly carried on painting the hallway as I was in a ridiculous stage of nesting.

The cramps would come and go and did ease off so I just put them down to Braxton Hicks.

They woke me at four in the morning. So I went downstairs, had some peanut butter on toast and put on Grey’s Anatomy. I then got on all fours and did the figures of eight and breathing techniques. I figured if I could eat then I wasn’t that bad.

So off I went to work. In complete denial.

As the same happened that night. Up at four, eating toast, Grey’s Anatomy doing yoga stretches in between.

I timed the pain and there was about four minutes in between.

I’d even phoned the hospital who told me not to come in.

I went back to bed.

And woke at six to get ready for work.

Still experiencing the pain,I then had a bleed. Something that had never happened in the entire pregnancy.

I knew then that shit was about to get real.

Back on the phone to the hospital while standing circling my hips and doing the ‘grounded’ movements, they advised me to come in for a check-up.

Even they were quite laid back by it all. When I asked if I should bring my bags in they said only if I wanted too.

So I took them. Just in case.

With the hubby. Who was in his uniform ready to go to work after the ‘check up.’ Hell even I was intent on going to work afterwards to.

But the ride to the hospital had me concentrating solely on my breathing. Although i do remember us driving up the Laverock Hall Road in Blyth. The sun was out – the first time it really felt like Spring.

And I remember thinking

‘today would be a good day to have a baby.’

Once in the hospital room, I was on my feet the whole time, circling my hips, transferring my weight from one foot to another, practising keeping grounded. All the while concentrating on my breathing.

It was confirmed I was three cm dilated and baba was still breach so off for a section I went.

I just went into a zone.

And I believe that pregnancy yoga helped me get into that zone, that calm frame of mind.

Postnatal Yoga With Babies

Over the summer, Laura trained to do the postnatal side of the yoga.

Missuswolf Postnatal Yoga blankets on floor in circle in room

This was a little different in the fact that the bumps that were once in the way were now little humans who craved attention.

Laura held sessions at people’s houses and her own.

The class was exactly the same set-up with the same equipment.

But now instead of how many weeks pregnant, it’s how many weeks/months old is the baby. Yet it’s still a chance to talk about how you’re feeling as well.

This is where it came to light that some of the girls had been struggling with various forms of depression over the summer but no-one really knew.

It re-enforced the importance of talking to each other and supporting each other.

Postnatal yoga once again brought us all together and opened us up. People ask for help if they need it. They talk about things more openly.

And there was the relaxation part too. Ten minutes instead of fifteen as there were little distractions. But Laura took the babies off us and soothed them to allow us to get that time. Which is needed now more than ever.

Missuswolf woman holding two babies at postnatal yoga while sat on the floor

We even did one session in Ridley Park! That really helped us feel grounded; being out in the August sunshine, on the grass under the trees.

Missuswolf Mother and children lying in park doing yoga

Family affair! Rachael’s family loved it.

The relaxation part of that was probably the best I’ve experienced. There’s something about being outdoors in the sun relaxing on the grass.

The sounds, the smells, all very comforting.

Missuswolf woman lying doing yoga in the park holding baby

Laura took Ella while I did my relaxation – aaaah

 

I look back on that day with fondness.

Missuswolf woman doing yoga feeding baby in the park

Multi-tasking Mama

It was a good day.

Postnatal Yoga – For The Mams

And finally – postnatal yoga just for mamas.

I went to one at the Albion Centre in Blyth, which is where all the new classes are now being held.

It was a Friday night and we joked that it’s rare to be out the house past 7.30 on a Friday night anymore. I know. How my life has changed! Unheard of until July last year when that blue cross appeared!

This was weird. Good weird. No bump, no baby. Just full dedication to ourselves.

Again, there’s the chat at the start. This is now how far postpartum you are, as well as how you and baby are doing.

Then we get to experience full yoga.

And the fifteen minute relaxation period was back hurrah!

There was a strange feeling about the class. Three of us had done the pregnancy yoga together. I don’t think we realised but when we went to this postnatal class, we sat in the same places that we used to at pregnancy yoga. Creatures of habit.

The strange feeling though.

I can’t really describe it.

Like we had been on some incredible mission together. We’d been through each other’s ups and downs from pregnancy, birth and postnatal. And here we were.

We’d made it. We’d survived.

And we are stronger than ever.

We are Warriors.

Missuswolf Postnatal Yoga teacher in warrior pose in Ridley park

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

 

How To Improve Your Physical and Mental Wellbeing: Love. Yourself. Lean. Journal

Monday 31st October 2016

Missuswolf Typewriter Compliments Disclosure

Improving physical and mental well being is a re-occurring theme on here. I had the opportunity to receive the Love Yourself Lean Journal and I thought it fitted in nicely with my blog.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Box

Everyone loves a delivery right? Especially a super speedy one that arrives beautifully wrapped.

As a child on the cusp of my teen years, I kept a diary. And you could say that this blog is a form of online diary.

But this Journal is a diary

with a difference.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Package

Pretty Packaging!

It focuses on Heartfelt Happiness and Harmonious Health.

I’ve never been so conscious of my physical and mental well-being as I have over the past fourteen months.

Since the moment I found out I was pregnant, I’ve had to mentally adapt.

Mentally adapt to:

  • the fact my body was going to change and I was more aware than ever what I was eating and drinking
  • the fact that there would be the painful labour process at the end of the pregnancy
  • the fact I would actually need to have a section instead as the baby was breach
  • that I would be responsible for this little person in our lives
  • going from a busy high-profile job to a slower pace of life, spending more time at home with a baby
  • my post-baby body
  • the constant of it all while I’m still on maternity leave. No matter how busy I make myself sometimes there feels like there is no break or no way out. And it feels worse the longer I’ve been off

The whole time – from becoming pregnant, to having the baby and then caring for this small human – it’s a lot to mentally process.

I’ve met people while I’ve been on this journey and it’s brought to light mental health awareness – particular Postnatal Depression.

I know some of my readers have experienced it, or are experiencing tough times in their lives right now.

Sometimes we need

to take a step back.

To shift our focus.

Before you can take care of someone else you need to care of yourself first.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Book

When I heard about the Love Yourself Lean Journal, it resonated so well with where I’m at in my life. It’s come along at the right time.

I know I’m fortunate to have this time off with my baby and I should make the most of it (as I don’t intend on doing it again. I’ve made my contribution to the human race). But my god it’s hard! It becomes mundane. Especially when you don’t feel great when you’ve caught the usual Autumn lurgies.

So this Journal is a great way to pull me into focus.

There’s a section on How To Use The Book, which covers areas like breathing, trust, feelings and reflection to name a few.

This is followed by a Getting Started page that prompts you to take pictures every four weeks for a year. This includes a no make-up selfie – to document the effects that drinking water has on your skin and eyes.

It reigns in to focus on and capture the following moments over a year:

Mental Health #Keenbean

Spiritual Health #Serenebean

Physical Health #Leanbean

Emotional Goals #Dreambean

Eureka Moments #Eurekamoment

You can focus on one of these a day and capture what you are grateful for, as well as a Self Love activity. Although it’s encouraged to post through Instagram as well, you can do it on a private or public facing account. It’s however you feel comfortable.

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Journal Page of a diary example

In the Journal, there’s space to record how many glasses of water you drink, your food diary and how many hours sleep you have (I know – sore subject among the parent sorority).

It takes five minutes out of your day to fill it in. And it does make you more aware of what you’re eating and drinking.

I used to drink so much water when I was at work and now I find I don’t drink half as much. It’s affected my skin and even my lips. The lethargic feeling I put down to being a parent isn’t helped by the lack of water and the upped caffeine intake.

And sometimes I think it’s my own doing. I’ve got into the caffeine habit since Ella was born. While at first it was very much-needed, as the months have gone on (hate talking about this for fear of jinxing it) it’s an area that’s not too bad. So like I say – it’s just become habit.

Plus the coffee and cake get together’s don’t help. (Well, they do at the time. They save our sanity. But on reflection, doing this and not drinking a lot of water I tend to get headaches.)

As many of you know I’m a bit OCD and I can’t start this diary on a random date. So I’ve been doing practice runs over the weekend and I’ll officially start the Journal on 1st November.

However, I’ve drank my two litres of water a day and, despite being full of cold, my skin actually looks fresher and plumper. I know. Weird! But if this is the benefits that I completely took for granted as part of my lovely old working life then hell yeah bring them back!

I did get into a good exercise routine over the summer which I’m going to bring back. This was just a home workout in my make-shift gym (the living room once all the toy crap is shoved away for the night). Last night I forced myself to do my forty-five minute routine.

Missuswolf Gym ball and weights

My Makeshift Gym

And do you know what? I instantly felt better working out. My nose wasn’t as blocked while I was doing it and my mood lifted with all those lovely happy exercise endorphin’s.

On the spiritual side of things, suggestions are things like going for a walk, meditating or visiting a new destination to name a few. I’ve been using the Headspace App and doing some meditating that I’ve learnt at Postnatal Yoga.

For the emotional goals, simple things like a cup of tea in peace (I should be so lucky ha!) or rushing to help a friend in need.

The Journal also has a four-week review page. It encourages you to look back over the last twenty-eight days and count how many days you focused on each health area. This will show you areas that you need to focus on for the next four weeks. As someone who also loves stats and analysing figures, again – this is right up my street!

Missuswolf Love Yourself Lean Week Four Review

A lot of time, effort and love has gone into making this Journal.

As a super organised person who thrives on routine and structure, I love having this to focus on.

I’m interested to see where this journey will take me. What kind of person I’ll be this time next year and how my mental and physical well-being changes. I’d like to think that I feel a lot more secure and get more satisfaction out of life (by this I mean I have a balance).

So the year is going to be all about getting that balance right. I’ll experience going back to full-time work and juggling this with childcare. It’ll be interesting to see how my mental and emotional goals change.

If you want to improve your overall physical and mental well-being, this Journal is ideal.

Plus a visit off Santa Claus is not too far away so this is a fab pressie.

It could be your resolution – New Year, New You.

Love Missuswolf xxx

 

Fresh Air, Fitness and Friendly Faces: Baby Bootcamp

Monday 19th September 2016

It’s Monday morning. That can only mean one thing in this crazy Mat Leave schedule of mine: Baby Bootcamp.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

Who would’ve thought it – the hardback A5 black diary that I used for work is now used for my Mat Leave? Alongside the family wall calendar in the kitchen?

Well, me actually.

I was freakishly organised in my last job.  I planned a lot. So obvs it was going to spill into organising mine and Ella’s getting-out-of-the-house-time. And I’m still claiming baby brain aswell as blonde moments so I need two diaries. I’m aware I’m weird.

Plus if I don’t keep busy I go mad. Last Friday I stayed at home in the morning as I had an unsettled baby (sorry Kim I was meant to come to running club. I really am coming back).

Cough – blog post plug – This Girl Needs To Run.

Although it’s nice to have some time at home, we usually drive each other mad (which we did) and then end up going out (which I had to do). All the way to the Fish and Chip shop in the afternoon. Where I met my Grandparents. Which was the perfect excuse. Although I really wished I had made running club.

Oh well, I’ll just have to burn the calories off at …

Laura’s Baby Bootcamp

So – Monday morning’s is Baby Bootcamp at Northburn Park in Cramlington.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

It’s ran by the lovely Laura Watson-Joisce, who I often joke has been my personal trainer while I’m on Mat Leave.

Not only does she do the Bootcamp’s but she teaches Body Pump and Body Combat at Xercise for Less in Benton. I haven’t been for a couple of months now though oooops. Must get ahead start to make room for impending Festive period-Baileys-and-Mince-Pie- consumption.

Now Baby Bootcamp’s are a perfect way to get back into shape and socialise with fellow members of the no-sleep poo-talk gang.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

The sessions are forty-five minutes long and they tend to start with a jog around the park to warm up.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

 

Laura then shows about three different exercises at a time. For example lunges, squatting with your buggy and jump squats (I think I’ve got the terminology right??)

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

 

We’ll probably do about 20 reps of each exercise three to five times. Then she’ll move onto another set of exercises, such as planks, running man (is that the right word?) and sit-ups.

Missuwolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

And every session is different.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

We make use of the benches and the railings to work on our mammy arm muscles (lord knows we need these for lugging the babas around!)

Missuswolf Baby Bootcamp

 

At the end of the summer term we did circuits. It was fun – hard work – but we had a laugh. It definitely keeps you motivated and you can push yourself as the weeks go on.

The class is tailored to all levels and there are options to follow if you’ve had a section (which was me).

If you’ve got a toddler you can bring them along too.

toddler-baby-bootcamp

 

Take a peek at the Baby Bootcamp Facebook page here.

Missuswolf Laura's Baby Bootcamp

I’ll be devastated when I have to go back to work in January (obvs I’ll miss baba) but I’ll miss going to Baby Bootcamp.

What better way to start your week with some fresh air, friendly faces and some fitness?

Love Missuswolf xxx