30 day Yoga Challenge – with toddler, Part 1


Since I was a kid, I’ve always either played a team sport or gone to the gym for fairly regular exercise.  I’ve taken yoga classes on and off when I could, which I found really good.  Tough classes to do, but really effective.  When I fell pregnant I swapped out the gym workouts for daily walks and a weekly pregnancy yoga class. One of the best things I did as a first-time pregnant Mum was sign up for those classes. They really looked after both my body and mind throughout the pregnancy. I met some lovely ladies (and bumps) as my pregnancy progressed, and found the sense of community and support invaluable. Two days before my due date I was doing push-ups without breaking a sweat, even though I’d never been able to manage them before being pregnant! I felt fitter than ever despite being at least ten kilos heavier than I was used to being. Then I gave birth and wham… my body felt totally broken. After the obligatory 6 week rest, I was itching to get back to Mum and Baby Yoga where I met even more lovely ladies (and babies!). I gradually got back into decent shape and started walking again through the summer months. I was doing great all the way up to September when a) the weather started to be less conducive to walking and b) The Rascal started crawling in earnest, meaning the days of yoga classes together were over.


Since then I’ve been terrible at getting regular exercise, and I really feel the effects. I tried some hot yoga classes, but they weren’t really for me, and were far too long for fitting around babysitting, naps and feeds. I came to the conclusion that I’d have to start doing exercise with the Rascal again if I was going to seriously commit to doing it regularly. I’ve been doing an online YouTube class from my previous teacher which he enjoys.  Admittedly, his yoga is limited mostly to downward dog and cobra positions, but he loves it for the chance to have some ‘rough and tumble’ play with me. It brings me down to his level, and he knows exactly when I’m going to be defenceless on the floor. Often he runs about the house in the afternoon demanding that we do our ‘Yoya’. It’s not very challenging to repeat the same short session though – even with a toddler handicap.  To encourage myself to practise yoga more regularly, and to vary the exercise I’m doing, I’ve made a resolution to do DoYouYoga’s 30 day challenge every weekday and at least attempt all the classes. Here’s how our first week went…

Day 1: Getting Started
Right. The mats are out (not that the Rascal uses his). The candle is lit, ’cause we like candles. The console is on, logged in to YouTube, and the class is onscreen, ready to start. “Let’s do some yoga!”, I say to the Rascal. His response is ‘Poop Poop! Poop poop!’. The child has an uncanny knack of timing his bowel movements to be at the most inconvenient time possible. 15 minutes of wrestling with nappies and toilets and pants and we’re back. Once the confusion of a new yoga teacher on screen passes, the Rascal gets straight into it, dive-bombing me from all directions. Downward dog is an opportunity to stick his head between my legs and laugh in my face. If there isn’t enough space to crawl through there he starts head-butting me so persistently that I wonder if he’s literally trying to get back to where he came from. We move on to other poses where he can stand on my ams and legs instead. It’s not the most relaxing yoga session I’ve ever done. We make it through and sit together for the traditional end of yoga class Namaste.

Day 2: Chest & Shoulders
Enthusiasm is waning for both of us.The Rascal is not liking these new varied routines. He likes predictability. He decides to start swinging out of my body from the start. I remove him several times before he wanders off. About 30 seconds later, the console powers down. I extricate myself from a complicated pose to find him brandishing a second controller with a cheeky smile. That gets confiscated, console is restarted, and it’s back to class. A whole two minutes before he manages to reach my phone. I don’t know how to voice activate the damn thing, but the Rascal does it every time, confusing the automated voice with his babbling requests. I wrestle it from him and encourage him back to the mat. I’m about halfway through the routine and am thinking this might just be the worst idea I’ve ever had. 28 more attempts to do this? The Rascal’s head appears once more between my legs as I downward dog. He cackles as he moves forward to bash heads with me. Hilarious. I finish up in child pose. There’s a short stretch of silence. I raise my head to see the Rascal flat on his back waving his arms and legs about like a turtle. He grins at me. Maybe the problem here is that I need a longer session with lots of conveniently-timed pauses for him to feel like he’s participating without me missing out on actually exercising. If I were an accomplished yoga practitioner I’d just do my own routine. I guess that’s our next exercise challenge. As the instructor finishes up, the Rascal mirrors our hands at prayer and mumbles Namaste along with us. I give him a round of applause and he spends the next ten minutes rolling about on the floor to music.



Day 3: Posture
We’re getting into our groove. The Rascal helpfully sits on my back or stomach, bouncing up and down, in order to make my workout that bit more effective. Occasionally he farts on me for good measure. For stretches, he grabs my hand and assists in almost pulling my shoulders out of their sockets.

Day 4: Abs
Abs. I hate abs. This isn’t going to be pleasant. The Rascal spends the first half blocking me from lowering and raising my legs. The second half he drives one of his cars up and down my torso, laughing hysterically. The only part of the class he actually participates in himself is the final Namaste.

Day 5: Core Strength
Ugh again. If these classes were much longer I’d probably have chickened out of this whole challenge by now. The Rascal particularly liked this one for the opportunity to climb on my back and ride ’em cowboy. So didn’t manage to do much of that section of the workout. He was bouncing more and more frantically by the time we got to our Namaste, and then it was straight up to the toilet for poop poop time.


First week done. So far it’s a miracle that I haven’t done a serious injury to myself. It’s one thing pushing your unfit body to stretch in difficult poses without falling over, it’s another to do that with a demented toddler ready to launch himself at you without warning. Still, I’ve managed a week of daily exercise.  We’re determined to make it to the end.

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