This March marks International Women’s Day, Mother’s Day in the UK as well as Women’s History Month, so we have taken this moment to share more stories on women from all different walks of life. This week we sat down with Naomi Annand, Yogi, mother and Founder of Yoga on the Lane.
Injury ended my career as a ballerina with the Royal Ballet. Yoga was how I started the process of mending myself. I was travelling at the time and practised everywhere I could. Slowly, I stopped limping. My shoulders relaxed. My chest opened. My toes spread. The practice taught me my body was a part of me, not simply a tool to be wrung for all its worth.
Like every woman I know, my experience of motherhood has been one of incredible highs and abject lows. It calls upon every part of you – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual - and it’s such an emotional rollercoaster: all that joy, all that exhaustion. Throughout my experience of motherhood, the thing that has kept me going is yoga. And that’s why I wrote Yoga for Motherhood. It’s the book I wish I’d had, one that’s honest about the lived reality of motherhood and how yoga can help you navigate its highs and its lows.
I don’t! I’m always chasing my tail, wishing I had more time for everything including yoga, especially yoga! But that’s what the book is about. Finding five minutes for yourself. Five minutes to breathe and check in.
I wanted to write a book about the whole mother; pre-pregnant, pregnant, post-partum, never-pregnant, menopausal. A book on how yoga can help you through the highs and lows of the whole thing from preconception to life after they’ve gone.
Few things test the limits of your compassion like parenthood. Whether it’s a four-year-old or a fourteen-year-old who is bellowing in your face, it isn’t always easy to remember that what you’re really encountering is fear, frustration and hormones, and that what the child in front of you needs is endless patience and depthless love however unreasonable their demands. The only way you’ll be able to come anywhere close to the required saintly levels of compassion is by first extending that compassion to yourself. It’s self-compassion that gives you the strength to reach out to others, be kind to yourself and it’s much easier to be kind to others. Try, when you can, to create gentle, quiet, you-focused moments. They’re a chance to feel and process and forgive.
To learn more about Naomi and her work you can follow her journey here.