Treat him... and yourself this Father's Day! FREE Buggy Tote with any order of Men's Booties or Binibootie gift sets.

 

This month BINI's eyes are all on wellness & how we can hack both the Winter & motherhood, to keep ourselves feeling strong.
  
We chat to a longtime fave and absolute Binibabe, Annie Clarke. Annie is a yoga teacher who runs an online community, The Practice, which includes a special space for pre and post natal work called Bump & Breath.
  
She is also mama to Marlowe, 15 months. 
  

When did you first experience the power of yoga

Yoga was something that I had dipped in and out of since my teens, but it didn’t become a constant for me until I left university. I went through a big transition with my lifestyle from a place of chronic inflammation, bloating and exhaustion to completely refocusing on my body and mind through a holistic approach to my wellbeing. While it felt as though everything else was changing, yoga became my constant and gave me so many tools which ultimately supported me in finding a lifestyle that actually worked for me.

 

  

What drew you to making this your work?

I was made redundant and used the last of my savings to do a yoga teacher training, thinking I would come home and find a ‘proper job’ at the end of the month away. But, as the cliche goes, it just felt right and so I found my way back home and straight into the studios of London where I had the opportunity to share the work that had been so profound in my own experience with others seeking a tool for their own wellbeing. 

"Yoga helped me to understand that wellbeing is truly individual and that a 'copy and paste' approach rarely works."

What does a typical day look like for you?

It varies a lot but usually involves a combination of laptop work, recording classes for The Practice, looking after Marlowe, moving my body, getting outside and keeping the home running!

I spent years trying to create freedom so that my days could flow in whatever way I wanted or needed them too but it is all about to change because I am opening an in-person yoga studio in the Spring which will bring a whole new juggle to the table!

I love that no two days are the same and while there are small routines that exist in my day-to-day, I am more likely to feel stressed if I am bound by a tight schedule. When I moved out of London, the one thing that instantly shifted was how I tried to do one less thing a day rather than one more. The sense of spaciousness is important to me - even if I still end up with one too many things to do, the intention of trying to do less is helpful!

  

For those new to this space, how can yoga and meditation help post-natally?

I think there are so many benefits to having a post-natal practice. And it doesn’t have to be about movement if you’re not ready for that. From day one, you can use your breath to support you physically and mentally in the post-natal period. It can be so hard to carve out the time to look after yourself when you have a whole new person to prioritise but we have to keep coming back to the idea of ‘putting on your own mask before helping others’ whenever we remember to.

 

"By prioritising your own wellbeing, you are of course prioritising that of everyone else around you and often the time that we take doing so actually saves us time and energy down the line."

 

 

  "Little and often can be so powerful and easier to commit to."

 

We know from personal experience it can be hard to start! What are some ways we help to create a routine at home?

Start small. I am currently taking part in a 40 day sadhana (a sort of spiritual practice or commitment) as inspired by my own teacher. The idea is that you commit to practicing every day but it could just be one yoga pose, or 3 deep breaths. Sometimes the idea of having to make enough space for a 60 minute class is too much. In fact, for most people it’s unrealistic most days. 

 

What’s your favourite part of your job? 

I love that I get to support people in their own wellbeing journey. No two people need the exact same thing, and so helping them find their own unique set of tools to support their own wellbeing and to fit in their lifestyle is always an honour. I love seeing people grow and to be able to support them in that is such a special part of my work.

What have you learnt about how to treat your body?

Just because something suited you before, doesn’t mean it's the right choice for you now. Life is full of seasons and our bodies and minds need different things at different times. Being constantly aware of our own changing wellbeing needs is such an important thing and yoga really helps me to connect to that. That being said, when we find the right thing for ourselves right now, consistency counts for a lot. The more we commit to something, the easier it is to get results (whether that be physical, mental, spiritual, energetic etc!).

 

What’s exciting in the health space at the moment?

I think the fact that we are finally recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to wellness. There are now lots of people offering much more individualised support, as well as tools to help you figure out your unique set of wellbeing tools.

 

How have you found the transition to being a mama?

I absolutely love being a mama. As I write this, Marlowe is 15 months and it just keeps getting better. There have, of course, been challenges but I feel that what makes parenting hard, for me at least, is everything else we try to do & be at the same time.

  "The way that we are expected to parent in modern life feels like it makes it all much harder." 

I don’t have a solution for that and sometimes the juggle of work, parenting, staying on top of the house and life admin is overwhelming but I try to remember we were never meant to do it all and to give ourselves permission to do one fewer things in order to manage better.

 

What is your favourite part of motherhood?

Seeing your child explore the world is such a unique magic - for me, it makes absolutely everything worth it. I feel lucky that I have been able to navigate challenging times from a place of good mental and physical health (aside from the onslaught of viruses that seemed to arrive with Marlowe’s first birthday and keep us feeling less than 100% ever since!). Prioritising my wellbeing is no longer just about me. I want to be strong, and well and happy for Marlowe too and that gives me a whole new motivation. 

 

 

 

How do you motivate yourself on those harder mama days when you have had little sleep?

I really try to listen to my body. Moving almost always feels good and helps to shake whatever the night was like BUT that movement can look different on different days. I know that when I exercise and practice yoga I have more energy and I sleep better so even if I have a little sleep thief needing me in the night, at least I am setting myself up as well as possible!

 

How do you think we can better support mamas in society?

Honest conversations, painting realistic pictures and creating support circles/networks (and don’t get me started on maternity and childcare support ;)) 

 

What does the future hold for you professionally?

I’m very excited to have some big news to share - Bump + Breath is expanding to include post natal classes and will be available along with The Practice, as an app soon too.

PLUS my big news for 2024 is that I am opening my first yoga studio in Frome, Somerset. I can’t wait to create a place to nurture collective wellbeing and offer space for mamas and all people to come together to move, breathe and feel the value and impact of a nourishing community.

  

 

 

You can join Annie on the mat www.annieclarke.com
or follow her on Instagram @annieclarke_ or @thisis_thepractice
   
She is also running hosting retreats in France and Mallorca this year (with additional events and retreats TBA). All the details can be found at annieclarke.com/yogaretreats