Let's face it, sometimes we are exhausted when we're pregnant...sometimes its hard to get up and down from the floor...or we may have limitations on the exercise we can do during our pregnancy...or maybe we work all day at a desk and need a practice we can bring to work to help us address the discomfort we're starting to feel from sitting all day. If any of these apply to you, this practice is for you! This is a prenatal yoga practice that you can easily do from your chair, whether sitting at home or sitting at work. All you need is you and a chair and 5 minutes. Got that? Let's go! Looking for other gentle practices to support you during your pregnancy? Visit our online yoga video subscription for more.
Have you ever gotten baby to FINALLY fall asleep and you realize you've got your hand, writs or arm in an awkward position? You don't want to move baby so you stay and then notice your hand or arm start to fall asleep. Sound familiar? I know this happened to me a lot especially in those first few months. We find that wrists get sore from holding, nursing, rocking and feeding our babies and then as our little ones get bigger we begin lifting and carrying them in ways that irritate our wrists. Its amazing how sore our wrists can be int he postpartum period. You'll love this 3 minute quick practice to help you address some of these issues and you'll find your wrists feeling better in no time (want more? visit our online yoga videos)!
Ever notice how the further along in your pregnancy you get the tighter your legs get? Not to mention the calf cramps and restless legs that can start happening at night! One of the main reasons this happens is as we gain more weight both from baby's weight gain, and our own, we have more weight the legs must support. On top of that we also loose our core strength as the belly stretches and hips and low back start to take up the slack. When this happens we end up relying on our legs more. Do yourself and your legs a favor and add this practice to your week to help release those tight and sore legs. Looking for more yoga support for your prenatal yoga practice? Check out our whole library of online prenatal yoga videos!
Let's face it, whether you've had your baby vaginally or via c-section, your pelvic floor will need attention postpartum. The simple fact that baby has been growing inside your belly for 9 months and gradually adding weight, and, therefore more pressure, to the pelvic floor means that pelvic floor muscles will be weak postpartum. Then if you had a vaginal birth with extended pushing or other trauma to the pelvic floor there is even more work to be done. The best thing you can do is start early, and practice often (and see a PT who specializes in pelvic floor!). This practice, once you have gotten clearance from your provider to being exercise, is a great one to add to your daily routine. Best thing? It takes just a few minutes. Need some more quick postpartum practices to add to your routine? Check out our series of online yoga videos!
A friend of mine recently had a blessingway ceremony as part of her baby shower. For those unfamiliar with blessingways, they can be a beautiful way to offer guidance, support and community to mamas as they prepare for their birth. They can be as simple as a circle of friends sharing stories and wisdom or can be much more elaborate in offering ceremonies to nourish and honor the mama-to-be. Something I've seen many times is the creating of a bracelet for the mama-to-be with beads offered by each participant and a blessing to go along with it. The beads can then be made into a bracelet or necklace that the mama will wear during the birth to remind them of the community supporting them.
In our last blog post we talked about ways you could modify your yoga practice in the first trimester to help account for some of those common aches, pains and discomforts that arise. As we look to the 2nd trimester, many folks consider this to be the honeymoon period. And for many people it feels that way...especially if they have experience nausea, morning sickness and exhaustion in the 1st trimester. That doesn't mean, however that the 2nd trimester is without its own new range of fun experiences to be had in the body. Here are some of the most common 2nd trimester complaints and how to modify your yoga practice to adjust for them:
For many mamas-to-be the first trimester is an overwhelming and potential nerve racking time. Our bodies may very quickly no longer feel our own as the influx of hormones make us feel and behave in ways that distinctly do not feel like "you." The first trimester can be rife with emotional ups and downs triggered not only by the every shifting hormones but also the realization and consequential mental gymnastics that come with even understanding that we are pregnant and what the means.
Not to mention the fact that there is all this crazy stuff going on in our bodies (we're growing a freakin' human!) and yet there is very little to show for it on the outside. In fact, most people in our life yet may not even know. Add on top of that the wonderful side effects of the first trimester: nausea, bloating, low back pain and exhaustion and its no wonder we can feel out of sorts for these first three months.
As a postnatal yoga teacher, I saw countless new parents coming to class with tight necks, shoulders and chests from holding, rocking, carrying and feeding their new babies. I looked at the pain those parents were experiencing and vowed that I wouldn’t be that new parent. I would make time for myself, I would stretch, I would take care of myself.
Fast forward to 8 weeks postpartum, as I was getting back into some of my regular activity and the help of my partner and my mom was gone during the days. I was tight, I was sore and I WAS that new parent I swore I would never be. I had let go of my self-care routines, focused solely on baby, and was now paying the price in body pain. And was this really a bad thing in hindsight? Not necessarily, but what I came to realize is that I was keeping myself from releasing some of this pain because I had certain expectations.
When I was newly pregnant I found myself worrying all the time. Worrying about baby's development, worrying about what mysterious thing could happen to me during pregnancy and worrying about the birth. I had no idea what I worry I could be, but I sure found out. Between the knowledge I had coming into pregnancy and birth as a prenatal teacher, combined with reading and internet searches, I found worry could be an easy constant companion in my pregnancy. I also found very quickly that I needed a practice to help me navigate that. Below is a practice I used during my pregnancy to help with anxiety and worry (the great thing? we keep having those feelings as parents to so you can continue to use this practice postpartum).
Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself reading to your little one and wanted to chuck the book out the window? I've literally found myself reading a book to her at bedtime and said out loud, "This is the dumbest story ever!". Since she's only 6 months old right now, most of the reading I'm doing is to myself. She doesn't fully understand what I'm saying, so I've found its important for me to pick stories I like too.
We have the routine of reading books every time before sleep, both naps and bedtime so there are lots of books to be read. In our home, we've found this ritual before bed helps our daughter wind down and know that its time for sleep. Over time, the energy we've invested in creating this ritual has really served us. For us, we've also found that starting with more active books (lift the flaps or pictures of other babies) and then moving to more calming stories has been really helpful for her to work out her pre-sleep wiggles. Here's a sample of a "day in the life" of books we read:
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.