During my pregnancy I really embraced my inner yogi. For 40 weeks, I practiced yoga 3-4 times/week and truly believe it helped with flexibility, strength, fitness and overall well-being. Once I was cleared for exercise, I was excited to get back on the mat. I wanted to move. I wanted to stretch. I wanted my pre-baby body. But more than anything, I wanted to share my love of movement with my little guy!
After talking with my favorite yoga instructors, I was sold on the idea of Mommy & Me yoga. Baby gets love, attention, stretching, movement, interaction, and fun. Mom gets to vinyasa and strengthen core muscles – and be a mom, without judgement! Feeding baby, changing diapers, and letting baby talk (or cry) is encouraged. LJ and I started practicing when he was 10 weeks old and it’s been such a wonderful – and fun – way to bond!
While every class is (slightly) different, the idea is that both baby and mom have the opportunity to move; movement is beneficial for neuromuscular development, range of motion, and sleep (!!). A well-taught mom & baby yoga class will have a healthy mix of poses for baby, poses for mom, and poses done in tandem. Our particular class begins with whole body stretches and massage for baby, followed by vinyasa flows for me – and even though I get a few minutes to move on my own, I incorporate LJ into my practice. My favorite part of class is kissing him on the belly when I chaturanga. He laughs and smiles, and loves it! During core exercises, I grab the little guy and we work on getting my
6-pack abs back. Toward the end of the class, we partner with other moms/babies and stretch, sing, move, and laugh. LJ and I have so much fun together!
If you’re still on the fence, consider these benefits from my favorite yoga teacher, my doula, and owner of the newly opened, Blue Nectar Yoga, Jane Bahneman:
For mom, getting out as soon as possible and meeting other moms who are experiencing the same stresses of motherhood is incredibly beneficial. Sometimes just knowing you are not alone is enough to help you plow through the first few long weeks and months of seemingly never-ending changes! Physically, yoga is a great way to ease back into post-partum exercise. The deep core work and pelvic floor focus of yoga goes right to the places that need the most attention. New habits of nursing, carrying baby, bags, and car seats all can wreak havoc – yoga helps to counteract this. The breath work is invaluable, tapping into the part of the central nervous that reminds moms to “relax and renew” and that all is well (even when in the middle of chaos!). Lack of sleep, irregular sleep patterns, shifting hormones, a new lifestyle and more all can contribute to chronic sensations of stress and irregular moods. Yoga can help stabilize you from the inside out.
And the benefits for baby? Babies are natural born yogis! They love to move and contort their perfect little new bodies! Yoga poses for babies can get their blood really flowing to their quickly growing brain and can activate the muscles that help baby hold head up, roll over, crawl, and more. Not to mention, a group of babies rolling around together and giggling on yoga mats is nothing short of hilarious! If you enter class tired and distraught, I promise you won’t leave that way!
I couldn’t agree more – thanks, Jane!
If you live in Northern Virginia, check out my favorite studios:
Wednesday & Friday at 10:30am
Teacher: Elizabeth has a beautiful and gentle demeanor. She is wonderful with both mom and baby, and you can tell that she really loves babies. She remembers certain things about mom/baby and this personal touch really sets her apart from other teachers!
Interested in starting a mom & me yoga class? Blue Nectar Yoga Studio just opened in Falls Church, VA and they aim to please! Fill out the ‘contact’ form on the website expressing interest – if enough moms are “in” then so are we! www.bluenectaryoga.com