Carving out time for self-care is a challenge for anyone, but it’s especially difficult when you’re a new mom. Mommy & Me yoga classes are a great option to invite movement and meditative focus into your day, but the reality of leaving the house and going to a yoga studio might not be possible.
With that in mind, here are some fun yoga poses you can do with your little one in the comfort of your own home. If you’ve got a yoga mat already, that’s great! If not, a blanket or towel will do just fine.
Set your baby on her back, either on a comfy blanket or some other sort of support on the floor. Next, bring yourself onto all fours, positioned so that when you look down, baby and you make eye contact. If you have sensitive knees, you may want to grab an extra blanket to place underneath them for cushioning. For optimal positioning, you’ll want your palms flat on the floor, with your hands shoulder-width distance, and knees hip-width distance.
Take a deep breath, arch your back, and gaze up to the ceiling. As you exhale, round the spine and smile down at your baby. Alternate back and forth, arching the back and looking up and then rounding the spine and smiling down. You can turn this into a game of peek-a-boo, if you like.
Downward-Facing Dog / Plank Flow
Starting from hands and knees, send your hips up and back into the sky while straightening your legs, best you can, into downward-facing dog pose. As with the all fours position, you want your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width distance, and your feet placed at least hip-width distance to start. You’re always welcome to bring the hands and feet wider, if that suits you. Also, feel free to bend the knees as much as you need to while guiding your heels toward the floor.
Your goal is to look like a triangle or upside-down V shape. If you’re new to yoga, you may feel a lot of weight in your wrists and shoulders, so bend the knees a bit and send the weight back into the legs. Look at your hands and make sure the fingers are spread really wide, like you’re giving the ground an excellent high-five.
Once you’ve found your downward-facing dog, take a deep breath and bring yourself forward into a plank pose (which just looks like the top of a push-up). While you’re there, say hi to your baby. On the exhalation, you’ll bring the hips up and back again to downward-facing dog and say bye to your little one.
You’ll alternate back and forth between hi and bye (plank and down dog) five times, feeling free to rest at any time. When you’ve finished your set of five, find plank pose, drop the knees down gently and relax the arms and shoulders, playing with baby before moving on to the next pose.
Reposition yourself onto all fours (hands under shoulders and knees under hips) with your baby still resting on her back. Take a full breath and then as you exhale, bend your elbows back and shift forward slightly, coming down into a modified push-up. Once you can reach your baby’s forehead, you’ll give her a little kiss, then inhale and come back up. Exhale down to kiss your baby, and then inhale as you come back up. Do ten rounds of these modified push-ups and rest when you’re done.
Legs up the Wall
Finally, find space along a wall and bring the short edge of your mat (or blanket) to meet it. You’ll want to lie down on the floor with your hips against the wall and swing your legs straight up, so they’re resting against the wall. You can place a cushion under your hips for added comfort. Your little one can cuddle up on your chest while you enjoy a rejuvenating, restorative inversion with your legs up the wall. Resting in this way encourages the blood flow to reverse within your body, which revitalizes your system. And who deserves a little restorative revitalization more than you?
Photo credit: @joshrose via Twenty20
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