The Three Best Yoga Poses for New Moms
New moms are BUSY — times that by two for me with my twins (and three for moms with triplets, etc, etc). And please: spare yourself my (very publicly-contained until now) wrath by NOT telling me that you understand perfectly because your babies are 20 months apart. Until you have experienced infants screaming in stereo for the first six months of their lives due to horrific reflux, and every feeding taking two full hours of said screaming, you do NOT understand. I’m not saying any mom has it easy, or I have it harder, because no one does (that I’ve ever heard of), and every situation has its challenges (and UH-MAZING upsides), but since Erin just did her post on yogis getting set off, that would be my current sweet spot, and I am asking you to avoid it, pretty please.
Luckily, yoga helps! Unfortunately: sometimes, despite the best of intensions, I simply cannot allot the time to:
1. Make myself presentable enough to leave my house and travel to a yoga class.
2. Take a 90-minute flow class (those hour classes are not easy to find on schedules that align with baby nap time).
3. Give myself a reasonable practice at home, because let’s be real, if the baby (or in my case babies) start crying, yoga is over. Home practice has become very elusive since my babies were born. Even if my husband is home, he feels FREE to interrupt my practice.
So, since often a few minutes is all that a new mom has, I am sharing my three very favorite yoga poses for new moms. You don’t have to be a new mom to reap the benefits of them (obviously), but they will feel especially yummy if you are. Enjoy!
If you only have time for one pose:
Fish Pose is insanely awesome for breastfeeding or non-breastfeeding mamas. It opens up your chest area that gets so closed from feeding your babies (breast or bottle), and provides much needed relief to your shoulders that get so tight from holding baby all of the time. I also love the restorative version of this pose with a block at your bra line, but since not everyone has a yoga block laying around their house, I figured I would show it without. Bonus: this pose is a mega energy boosting pose – something all new mamas can use.
Start seated with legs long and in front of you. Bring your hands, palms on the ground fingertips facing forward, under your butt, reaching your elbows towards one another. Bend your elbows, release your forearms to the ground and lean into them, keep them parallel to one another. Lift your chest up toward the ceiling so that your back is arched. Allow your head to relax down toward the ground. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths.
If you have time for a second pose:
TWIST! Any seated twist will do, but Bharadvajasana is my favorite for new moms. If you don’t have a comfortable half lotus, having the sole what would have been the lotused foot pressing into the other thigh on the ground is a great modification. Every motion new moms do (coupled with crazy lack of sleep) make for a super cranky back, spinal twists are a great way to alleviate tension in the spine. And, this pose, with all of the different hip opening elements creates even more space for your back, helping you feel that much more human after a few breaths here. Bonus: this pose also improves digestion, which can get stagnant with the lack of sleep new mommies experience.
Begin seated with legs long and in front of you. Bend your right knee, and take the top of your right foot and place it on the ground next to your right butt, in half hero’s pose. Bend your left knee, and place the top of your left foot on top of your right thigh, at your hip crease, into half lotus. Slightly twist your torso to the left, take your left hand behind your sacrum on the ground, and then take your right hand to the outside of your left knee. Take a big inhale to lengthen through your spine, and use your exhale to engage your navel to your spine and twist to the left. Keep this breathing pattern for at least five deep breaths. Then, repeat on the other side.
If today is your lucky day, and you have time for a third pose:
Side Bends feel amazing during and after pregnancy. Your body is miraculous, and held your most precious cargo for 9 months, now it needs to figure out what to do with the extra space, and how to take shape. Sometimes (most of the time), this can result in a lot of tightness in the muscles surrounding where baby once was. Creating space in your sides can feel heavenly in your torso, hips and back, which have been doing a lot of heavy lifting with baby inside, and continue to do heavy lifting with baby outside.
Start seated and take your legs wide. Take your right forearm to the ground inside of your right leg, and reach your left arm over your head and to the right. Keep rooting down through your left hip, and keep your left shoulder as far away from your ear as you can. See if you can use each inhale to lift your chest up (toward the ceiling or sky depending on where you are), and use each exhale to release a little deeper into the side bend. Stay here for at least five deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
If you have time for all three of these poses: hooray for you! If you only have time for one: hooray for you, you did something for yourself and you will be a happier, better, more space-filled mama for it! Any new mamas out there have a favorite pose when there is only time for one? Let us know in the comments!