Many of you may be familiar with Tara, she's the lady making SUP (stand up paddleboarding) accessible to all. But it's not all about the SUP, I was lucky enough to first meet Tara when no.3 was a tiny baby, she helped me slowly recover from the birth through her relaxing mummy and baby yoga and I went on to SUP with her, mainly to get some downtime from the kids. Now I'm a complete advocate of the paddleboard as are my boys. Here Tara tells me how Yoga became part of her life, how it can help all and why she got the paddleboarding bug.
Tell me about you and your background?
I started yoga around 20, I did not have the confidence or awareness to walk & talk and my brain would not stop thinking! I needed yoga time to focus and calm my body and mind and have used it as my number one re-balancing tool.
I have always been fascinated with how the body works so it was natural for me to be a massage and yoga teacher and I love to play! So playing with children, sports and being on the river are my biggest passions.
You run so many classes and have so many strings to your yoga bow, how has your Yoga diversified?
I returned to the UK after 14 years abroad on my own and with two young kids and I needed work during the day. Maidenhead had so many yoga teachers already (and multiplying all the time) and I thought the least saturated part of the market was with seniors, so I approached all the nursing homes in the area and at some point I was in most of them. The only one I still work in is Harwood House in Cookham Dean as they are progressive and knew fitter residents are happier and live longer. It is there I got to work with a gentleman with Parkinson’s and the changes were so drastic that the Parkinson’s Doctor suggested I start teaching a class and recommended her patients. I now teach 2 Parkinson’s classes a week ( & a Sporty Friday & privates) and have had some clients for over 10 years. Teaching in Primary schools and developing private clientele for yoga and massage have kept me busy and now my kids are older I teach evening classes. So it was a combination of needing to work during the day and my love of people that made me diverse but now I love to combine yoga with other sports and activities!
Why should everyone ‘yoga’?
Exercise and yoga really are a great remedy for many different health conditions and keep us strong as we age. Yoga specifically is one of the most diverse and helpful modes of movement that is capable of de-stressing and energising at the same time. It is also a mood changer (for all ages) and gives us permission to go deep inside of our body and mind with the most simple of moves. It is not a ‘spiritual practice’ as such but concentrating on your posture, breathing and body for an hour brings about a stillness and quietness and that is also why it has such a big impact on our neurological and endocrine system. The health benefits for joints and spines if practiced regularly can make a huge difference with how you age.
Your family yoga sessions look like a lot of fun, how are they structured?
The purpose of these classes is to inspire more play with our children through yoga, acrobatic moves, breathing games and massage. Most classes have a theme; Serengeti Safari, SeaLife, Big Cats, Feathered Friends, Big Bears but they always have similar material as children as much as they love variety then love the familiar too and parents to learn something new need reminding! When there is physical touch, there is connection, when there is play there is more joy. So if we can increase the time spent with touch and play then we have happier ,more confident children.
Your Stand Up Paddle Boarding is really taking off, tell me about it? I am one of the volunteer kayak coaches at Longridge Canoe Club and paddle boarding is now a recognised British Canoe paddle sport so it was the prefect opportunity to launch myself as a paddle board coach and start taking people down our beautiful stretch of the Thames. This summer I have lots of Family Paddling Days and SUP Yoga taking place.
Do you plan more family yoga sessions?
I would love to do more than one Family Yoga class a month, but it is the hardest of all my classes to get enrolments for as families are so busy and many commitments. So yes if the demand is there and families want to book me, I will be there. I just came back from 2 weeks visiting friends and family in Aruba and I ‘yoga ‘played and massaged every day at least one of the four kids I was staying with. It was so much fun making time to play it makes for the fastest strongest bonds I know. I wish I'd known of this ‘ play’ when my kids were young but I also know how busy we are when they are young. But they really appreciate the ‘precious’ one to one time we can spend with them. It really is worth the effort to ‘roll around on the floor’ with them, there is nothing more rewarding than feeling more love and joy!
How can yoga help a postnatal mum and her baby?
Posture posture and working from the feet up helps restore pelvic balance. Combine this with ‘yoga play’ with your baby and you have a winning combination. Baby is happy as mum is animated and funny, their brain loves the cross coordinating moves with songs and mother pays attention to herself and can exercise as well as entertain. We are super at multi tasking and again it comes back to touch and play, Baby thrives and mum will get stronger as she remembers her postnatal moves, that are for life!
What is your No 1 tip for a postnatal mum?
Have as much horizontal time during the first 2 months as you can allow yourself. Standing up too long or sitting in sofas can be detrimental to recovery. I generally don’t see mums before 6 weeks and if there was one message during this most important period it is: rest, don’t try to be too physical active the first 6 weeks: spend time lying on your belly (C-section this may not be desired), lying on your side, and on your back with your knees bent and a cushion under your bum are all great ways for repairing and recovery and no ‘sit ups’.
Tara is running plenty of Family Fun Paddles and Summer SUP Socials for anyone wanting to take friends or family out on the river for adventures.