Category Archives: Sophie is exercising

U is for upside down

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I’ve raided the archives again this week. This photo of me doing a headstand in the garden pretty much sums up my early childhood: outdoors, and upside down. Whether it was hanging in trees, rolling head over heels or walking on my hands I was never happier than when things were the wrong way up.

I remember one morning in primary school when someone bet me that I couldn’t stand on my head for the whole of break. Never one to turn down a challenge, I promptly kicked my heels towards the sky. Everyone else got bored after a few minutes but I was seriously proud of myself when the bell went. That, and a little bit dizzy.

It’s something that’s never really left me. I got very into trampolining in my teens, drawn by the prospect of somersaulting through the air. I learnt to fly forwards, backwards, tucked, piked and straight, twisting and landing on my back and front and feet. It was pretty awesome.

As I bounced into my twenties I still somersaulted whenever I could, but I’d hit a (virtual) ceiling. I couldn’t really learn new skills without proper training, and there was too much else going on for that. So I branched out, finding a circus school and working on my tumbling.

It all petered out a bit as teaching and later pregnancy and motherhood took over my time and energy, but I’ve still found ways to get my fix. Last summer I persuaded Leigh to take me and Arthur to circus camp : we spent a week in the rain in deepest darkest Cornwall juggling and tumbling and hanging from the trapeze.

And I’m back to trampolining too. I couldn’t believe my luck when we moved to Torbay and I found somewhere that was not only prepared to let adults loose on the trampolines but also timed it so the babies could do a gym session too. Arthur’s moved up to the toddler class now, but I still get to turn the world on its head every Friday.

There’s a metaphor in all of this. Something about seeing things from different perspectives, not accepting the common viewpoint, wanting to shake things up until they’re topsy turvey from time to time, just to see what happens. It’s liberating, for the body and for the mind.

U is for upside down.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast. 

Word of the Week: Yoga

For months now I’ve been wanting to work out how to incorporate yoga into our daily routine. Inspired by this post from  Vicki over at Honest Mum I sought out the 10 Minute Solutions Yoga DVD, but it has spent the summer mainly gathering dust as I’ve despaired at ever finding one minute for myself, let alone ten.

This week though I decided enough was enough: I mostly found peace with my post pregnancy body a while ago but the time has finally come when the mummy tummy has got to go. And my first step was to force myself to find the time for that daily yoga!

I’m pretty rubbish in the mornings, but having run our average day through my head a multitude of times before breakfast was the only fail-safe slot. The advantage of Arthur still being breastfed is that he’s never crazy hungry first thing, and I figured it might actually be quite a nice way for us both to start the day.

And it has! It’s been brilliant in fact, and once I’d put my mind to it really not too hard at all to slot in – we’re even up to twenty minutes a day now. Arthur’s been loving it, and will excitedly call out ‘Yoga! Yoga!’ whenever I start to get our mats out (Actually the way he says it sounds more like ‘Yoda’, which can’t help but make my inner Star Wars geek giggle).

That’s not been the only thing about our joint yoga practice that’s been amusing me either. Yesterday, having left early for music in the morning, we found some time in the afternoon – and I just had to get Leigh to document it.

Things generally start out simply enough, with us both on our own mats listening quietly to the instructor.

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But then as the session goes on Arthur’s approach tends to get increasingly interactive. He’s never been able to resist a back to climb on, and has decided that the downward dog provides the perfect ‘baby house’.

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It was my fear of these interruptions from the ever present toddler that had been one of my major excuses for not finding the time for yoga earlier. And frankly it is a far cry from the tranquil loft spaces I used to love to frequent for classes in London. But it’s most definitely not a good enough reason not to do yoga at all.

I think as he gets more used to it Arthur will become more keen to try to copy the poses himself – in a modified way of course, and especially if I dust off the yoga for toddlers book I bought and fit in some dedicated sessions for him too. It’s a great addition to our day together, and good to do something physical to counterbalance all the writing time.

I’ve found that it is really beginning to transform my days – I have more energy, less aches and pains, and am in a much more positive and proactive frame of mind. And whilst all that is reason enough to keep it going, I’m sure it won’t be long before I see it starting to transform my body too.

 

The Reading Residence