- Join a Circle
Tier 3 it is for me. Tier 3 for you too if you are also in Birmingham. You might also be in Tier 3 wherever you are as you read this.
I was expecting it but I was hoping that I wouldn't be in it. Blah! It's all a bit blah!
I was quite sad at the beginning of this week. I felt really tired on Monday morning. I definitely did not feel refreshed from the weekend. To be honest, the weekend feels very much like the week with little distinction between them. I feel like I'm caught on a never ending hamster wheel where each day merges into the next and I can't get off. Does this sound familiar or is it just me?
I'd been getting myself into a space that I didn't want to be in. Those annoying voices in my head had been saying all kinds of unhelpful things and I was not enjoying that space at all. I was overthinking.
It was time to have a quite word with myself so that's what I did.
First thing Monday morning my voices and I had a good chat. We - my voices and I - decided that I needed to slow down and work out another way to respond to life. We decided that the best way to respond was to act with love. It came to me in that quiet moment I purposefully created. It came when I stepped back into my circle of control and stopped allowing myself to feel sad and overwhelmed.
Act with love. What exactly is that and why would it work? I don't really know what it is. The words came to me in that moment. To me it's a way of responding to things that makes me feel better. It's a shift in attitude and it has really helped me.
Instead of going with my initial response - which has often been annoyance or general fed upness - I've paused, breathed and told myself 'be kind and think love.' I know - sounds a bit soft but it really hasn't been soft or weak. In fact, it's made me feel strong.
I have taught my classes with love. I have shopped with love. I have mothered with love. I have responded to Neave's tremendous contrariness with love - and that has not been easy. I have wifed with love which has been tricky at times. I have done my best to remember that we are all struggling and that treating everyone with love makes me feel much better and, I hope, makes them feel better too. It's that pass it on thing.
Do you know what the best thing has been?
I don't know why but it has taken the pressure off. I don't feel so angry or tired. I do feel as if my shoulders are lighter. My To Do List is still as long but I did the things I liked best first because that's what acting with love to yourself looks like. Yes, you must act with love towards you too.
I have had my moments, believe me, I am absolutely no saint. The thing about acting with love is that is does not mean being perfect. Very far from it. Do not confuse the two. Humans are not supposed to be perfect. That is impossible.
It means being kind not right. It means smiling and understanding not jumping to assumptions. It means deciding to sit on the sofa eating coffee cake rather than doing your monthly accounts. It means listening and watching rather than talking. It means letting go of expectations and just seeing what happens.
You might want to give it a try.
The next time your partner drives you mad or your toddler presses your buttons - don't respond immediately. Don't judge or comment. Ask yourself what love feels like and then respond. You might be pleasantly surprise by how you react and, more importantly, how you feel.
I don't know how or why this works. I don't know why it came to me this week. I can't explain to you what it really feels like - you have to feel it yourself. I do know that I feel a whole heap of a lot better and that you might need to feel better to. All I can suggest is that you allow your heart to open a little bit more and think love before you respond or react. Breathe too. Big breaths always help.
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What our mums say...
I did want to say thank you. Your classes are fantastic - you explain everything so clearly and know which achy bits to work on. It has made me think that I should find a ‘normal’ (ie not postnatal) yoga class post-lockdown, but finding the time will be a big challenge! I also think that what you do for mums is great and I hope that you will be able to start your classes in person again soon. If I come across any mums to be or new mums I will certainly recommend you, although Arlo was a late (and very happy) addition to our family and most of the mums I know have kids at school now. That’s been another positive for me actually - being able to connect with people going through the baby/pregnancy stage as otherwise it would have been very easy to neglect that side of my life with the demands of having other young children. One of the unforeseen bonuses of Mandy's classes was that my baby always slept for three hours afterwards!
Mandy is such a positive influence
I went to Mandy's pregnancy yoga class for a block of 8 lessons. I enjoyed it so much that I kept going for another two blocks. You may think you're going for yoga, but it's so much more. Mandy is such a positive influence on how you feel about your pregnancy, birth and parenting. I gained friends, lost any fear of giving birth and am looking forward to joining one of her baby classes with my newborn.
Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment
I first attended baby massage classes when my son was 3 months old, and then went on to do mum and baby yoga, and I’m on my 4th block of classes now (my son is now 9 months old!) Every class provides a relaxed and friendly environment, great yoga for post pregnancy, focussing on pelvic floor exercises and breathing, and a general feel good hour where you can forget about the outside world. The cake and tea are a bonus at the end of the classes and I have met some really lovely moms through attending. Mandy has a special gift at teaching and she never fails to create a relaxed environment for the babies, who all seem fixated by her presence. I am so glad I found her classes as Wednesdays are my favourite days of the week! Cannot recommend enough.
Mandy understands that babies have their own minds...
Mandy was extremely friendly and made me feel at ease so quickly. Which was fantastic as I was nervous being the youngest mum in the room. It was good to introduce everybody and nice for Mandy to explain she understands babies have their own minds so if we wanted to we could feed or change nappies just simply watch.
And she really meant it.
Having tea and cake at the end of each session made you stay and engage with the mums. I loved how Mandy explained all the benefits of the different massages e.g. winds/sinuses Oh and one final thing I loved the goody bag! Couldn’t rate the class highly enough.
Mandy really encourages everyone
I first attended Mandy’s pregnancy yoga classes when I was pregnant with my first baby, the yoga helped hugely with my pregnancy aches and pains but most of all the support and encouragement from both Mandy and the rest of the group was amazing. Mandy really encourages everyone to engage with each other which wasn’t something that I had experienced in other groups I attended, it meant that I felt safe in asking that daft question or verbalising my fears! I then went on to attend baby massage and postnatal yoga with my first baby and again the support and ability to engage with other new moms was fantastic! I have recently had my second baby and attended pregnancy yoga, whilst I had less concerns and worries about pregnancy and birth the classes gave me a dedicated hour to have just for me...which was so important and you don’t get much time to yourself when you are running around after a toddler! I am now attending postnatal yoga and although this is having to be done via zoom Mandy has continued to provide a safe environment and an opportunity to engage with other Moms! Thank you Mandy you help me keep my sanity!
SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes
I had previously been to a few different yoga classes and found them a bit intense and not what I was looking for. I heard about Mandy's prenatal yoga classes through a friend and it sounded just what I was looking for. From the first session I was SO glad I'd found Mandy and her classes. They are way more than a yoga class - meditation, breathing exercises, relaxation and a chance to chat to other expectant mums and soak in Mandy's wisdom. The jammie dodgers are a welcome bonus to the class too! Since lockdown the classes were via zoom and this worked really well and I still had the same sense of connection and relaxation I got from the in person class. Between classes I also did Mandy's yoga sessions on her website which really helped me stay relaxed and helped my aches and pains. I also made sure I regularly listened to her audio relaxations which helped me stay calm and grounded in those final weeks. Above all of this, Mandy has been a wonderful support and checked in with me after the birth of my daughter and during our hospital stay - Mandy really does go above and beyond and puts out some brilliant online content. I can't thank her enough!
I feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum
I signed up to the class to get to meet local expectant mums with the side benefit of a nice stretch. I did meet some lovely local mums and found it so helpful to have a space where you could talk about any issues and get advice or support. What really surprised me was how much I valued the yoga and stretching but mostly the breathing exercises. It gave me a toolkit of things to do during pregnancy and also in Labour and has made me feel excited for the birth! Mandy’s affirmations during the rest time have really spoken to me and made me feel empowered as a pregnant woman and as a future mum.
The class was so beneficial to me, to have a space just for me to enjoy my pregnancy and learn about the things I can do in birth to help it be a positive event. Thank you!
Absolutely love her classes
I returned to Mandy's pregnancy yoga classes following my second pregnancy as I absolutely loved her classes first time round and made some solid friendships.
Mandy creates such a welcoming and safe environment. She is passionate about ensuring mums and mums to be have a support network alongside the yoga which is so vital. Her classes provide opportunities for open discussion around pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood and no question is out of bounds!
Following the birth of my daughter, I went on to attend baby massage and baby yoga classes, both of which I can thoroughly recommend. Baby massage has given me some really helpful techniques to manage baby's trapped wind and has also helped me deepen the bond with my little ones. Baby yoga was surprisingly more relaxing than I expected! I have made some amazing friendships that have continued post classes. I would definitely recommend Mandy's classes. She is so honest and puts her heart and soul into her classes.