Tell us a little about yourself and your solo mum journey…
I’m a loving mother, author and founder of Yoga Mamata. After my marriage suddenly ended, leaving me a solo mum, I turned to my yoga practice for guidance. My divorce came as a complete shock to me. My husband and I were so happy and in love, and we were often described as the perfect couple, but one day, on Christmas eve, eight years since the day we met and our son, Lael, was about to turn two, my (ex) husband told me he didn’t love me anymore and in an instant, our marriage was over. I had to go back to work full-time and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. It was my yoga practice that helped me deal with what was happening. Each time I practiced yoga I cried and my heart healed just a little. I got a glimpse of light that everything would be okay and this led me to follow my heart and start my own business, becoming a yoga teacher, which led me to create Yoga Mamata and write my book, Mother Om. Today, I’ve recently re-partnered with a wonderful man who shares my passions and together we’re focusing on taking Yoga Mamata to new heights and looking forward to spending some time overseas together with my son.
You’ve recently been nominated for the AusMumpreneurs Rising Star award. Tell us about your business… Yoga Mamata teaches mums how to mother in the moment. We teach children kindness and resilience and we keep families connected. We teach yoga and mindfulness to mums, kids and families offering programs, workshops and retreats. My book, called Mother Om, provides mums with the tools to manage the emotional journey of motherhood through yoga practices and mindfulness.
How did you end up starting your own business? Before I founded Yoga Mamata, I bought into the Yogabugs franchise. At the time I was working in a full-time sales job and the role required me to work long hours, so it meant long days not only for me, but for my young son as well. Eventually I could feel the stress building. I was unhealthy and I felt like a shadow of my former self. I knew something had to change, I just wasn’t exactly sure what or how. One day I went along to a yoga festival and saw the Yogabugs stand. Their franchise options provided so much support – I didn’t have to create a brand, I just had to do what I loved. At the time I didn’t have the cash to purchase one, but I signed up on the spot anyway, telling the Yogabugs representative that I’d find the money somehow, and then put it out to the universe that it would happen. Not long after that I went to India for a month, and finally, I received news that a property I’d been trying to sell with my ex-husband had finally sold… It was meant to be. In any part of your life, following your intuition is key, and trusting that you’ll make it work. In this instance, I just had to make it work. If you want it that badly, you’ll make it happen. I really believe in the power of manifestation.
What was the inspiration for Yoga Mamata? My son is my greatest teacher and inspiration. He gets over-whelmed and struggles to control his emotions. My journey and experience of being a mother and yoga teacher means I am able to help other mothers who struggle with motherhood and help kids who struggle with anxiety and stress.
What do you love about running your own business? Working from home gives me the flexibility to create a lifestyle that allows me to find balance so I can look after myself, my business and my family. I control my schedule and enjoy the solitude of writing, the fun of creating content and the joy of being a social butterfly.
What are your biggest tips for managing your time with a business and a child? Be mindful. When I work, I work. When I play, I play, When I sleep, I sleep.
When I am with my son, I am not working. I unplug and play and turn off technology and be present with him. I leave my phone at home when I walk the dog. This is my time. I try to get everything I need to get done while my son it at school.
I believe we create so much stress for ourselves so being present in the moment with whatever we are doing brings us happiness and peace and we can let go of the guilt we so often feel as mothers.
All we ever have is the present moment.
Your book, Mother Om, gives so much practical advice for mums. As a mum it can be tough to stay calm all the time. What’s your biggest tip to managing yelling at your children? Breathe. Learn to notice when your frustration is rising and when you feel like you’re going to lose it. We’ve got 2 nervous systems in our bodies: the sympathetic and the parasympathetic — the sympathetic system creates the ‘flight or fight’ response when we are stressed, but by consciously deep breathing, our body switches to the parasympathetic nervous system which tells us to rest and regenerate.
When we are stressed the guard dog in our brain (the amygdala) is activated and he barks (think of when you shout at your kids) when we feel threatened. However most of our stress is psychological rather then a real psychical threat. The wise old owl (the pre-frontal cortex) is the part of our brain where we activate thinking analysis and are able to regulate our behaviour. When the guard dog barks, the wise old owl in our brain flies away. You see this when a child is having a tantrum and you cannot reason with them. So if we breathe and take a mindful moment when we are stressed, we give the wise old owl a chance to fly back so we can respond and not react.
Here are my 3 steps to dispelling anger or frustration:
1. Breathe: If you need to, count to ten while you’re breathing or imagine your breath as a colour that makes you feel calm.
2. Hug: Pick up your child and hug them. Synchronise your breath with theirs so you both calm down.
3. Shift your mindset from anger to compassion: E.g. Replace ‘You’re late! Now you’re making me late and our whole day is ruined!’ with ‘You’re only 3, you don’t understand, you have no concept of time’. You’ve got 9 seconds to switch your thinking before you start attracting more thoughts of the same calibre, and that’s when everything can start spiralling out of control. Keep calm and connected.
If you do shout, immediately apologise, tell your child that it’s not their fault and have a hug. Then let go of the guilt you feel about it. It’s only going to hurt you more. The more guilt you feel around shouting, the more you are manifesting it to happen and you get stuck in a negative cycle of shouting, feel guilty, shouting, feeling guilty.
Do you have any advice for solo mums wanting to start their own business?
If you can be a mum you can run a business.
If you can be a single mum, you can do ANYTHING.
My advice is to be yourself and be passionate and create positive energy around what you want to achieve. Understand your market and your clients needs wants and desires. Spread your message wherever you go. Use social media, create content and write articles based on what your clients needs are, solve the problems they are facing.
Create a tribe.