In light of the recent Glowing Body Baby Boom and the conclusion of Nugget’s first year on the earth, I wanted to share some of the poses that helped me survive my first year of motherhood. When I say survive, I mean survive. In the midst of crashing hormonal changes and trying to ‘figure out’ this whole other human, my goal was just to meet our (mine and Nugget’s) basic needs. These poses helped me stay as sane as possible during that sweet yet tumultuous time.
Many days, corpse was the only pose I practiced. Let’s be honest, sometimes I would fall asleep but most of the time I was feeling a little too anxious or harried for that. Savasana helped me feel more relaxed and grounded, providing rest for body and mind.
After pregnancy, my body felt somewhat out of whack. As my baby grew and could be carried on one hip, I developed some lower back problems. Mountain pose helped me find center. If I was feeling mentally swept up in a never ending to do list, I would focus on feeling the ground underneath my feet. If I needed to feel uplifted, I would take my arms overhead and stretch.
I spent many, many hours sitting down in this first year. Whether I was breastfeeding or rocking my sleeping babe, my hip flexors would get cranky. Bridge pose helped me comfortably stretch the fronts of my hips and belly. I also never quite got back into full inversions like headstand and shoulder stand so this was a nice compromise. Sometimes I would flow in and out of the pose with my breath; other times I would place a block under my sacrum for a quick chill session and other times I would just hold the pose. The more active versions of the pose also helped stabilize my S.I. joints, which were all out of whack.
My baby is cute. Really freaking cute. I would just stare at her, tripping out on oxytocin. I already tend toward a forward head position so these gaze-fests created quite a crick in my neck. In addition, I cradled Nugget for most of our breastfeeding sessions which really rounded my shoulders and upper spine. I used fish pose to open my chest and stretch the front of my neck. Sometimes I would practice by lying over a block or a bolster; other times I would sit on the backs of my hands and prop myself up on my forearms. I often practice this pose right before savasana because it releases so much tension in my neck.
Reclined Hand to Big Toe Pose 3
As I mentioned already, carrying my big baby left its mark on the alignment of my spine and hips. This twisted pose provided an opportunity to stretch my hips and shoulders and - if I was seeking a bit more activity - would even offer a chance for core strengthening. I also really enjoyed twisting after 9 months of abstaining from these poses.
How has yoga helped you as a new mom? What poses have helped you the most? Want some inspiration? Check out the blog of another Glowing Body mom (of four!), Simply Natural Mom, as she chronicles her commitment to 40 days of yoga.
Please remember, I’m sharing my experiences here, not offering a prescription for all new moms. Use common sense, in-person coaching from your yoga instructor, and advice from your doctor when you embark on a new exercise journey. Make sure you’re cleared for physical activity by your midwife or doctor before trying these poses post-delivery.