My name is Diana Welham and I’m an LA based yoga instructor and new mom to a sweet baby girl. As this month is National Yoga Month I wanted to share a bit about my journey with yoga and how it’s evolved since having a child. I’ll also be sharing my favorite poses that you can do wearing your little one in your favorite Ergobaby carrier or in the brand new Ergobaby Evolve 3 -in-1 Bouncer.
I’ve been practicing yoga as a student for over 10 years and teaching for 6. Initially, what attracted me to yoga was primarily the physical benefits. Increasing flexibility and mobility, finding stability and balance, and getting strong – not to mention being able to learn some fun arm balances and inversions! But as I continued to practice, I began noticing the benefits to my mental health and how my yoga practice influenced essentially all other aspects of my life. It has taught me to be present, be consistent, and to move through each day with mindfulness and gratitude. Having a regular self care practice provides the tools to manage stress and anxiety in a healthy way.
Being pregnant with my daughter was the most beautiful and exciting time of my life, but I was also faced with a type of anxiety I had never experienced before. I spent countless hours and sleepless nights worrying, wondering, and wishing for the day my baby would arrive safely in my arms. For the majority of my pregnancy, I adapted my practice to suit both my changing body and to prioritize relaxation. Time spent breathing on my mat was incredibly therapeutic and I felt the connection with my baby grow even stronger. After giving birth, my practice evolved again as I took my time to slowly heal and rebuild strength and confidence in movement. Now, I am focusing on being present and savoring each and every day of motherhood. Over the past decade, my yoga practice has supported me through all of life’s twists and turns and the (sometimes turbulent) ride of being a parent is no exception.
I’m sure we’ve all heard it many times but you truly cannot pour from an empty cup. As a new mom, I’ve realized how necessary it is to carve out time (even if only a few moments each day) for myself in order to live a happy, balanced life and show up as my best self for my child. When things feel chaotic I encourage you to slow down, get still, and turn inwards. Yoga can help destress, calm anxiety, release endorphins, and is so beneficial for your mental and physical health. Cultivating a yoga practice does not need to be complex! Here are a few foundational poses to help you get started (and I bet your little one will enjoy it too!)
Baby Wearing Poses
Warrior 2 Pose
Step your feet out wide. From the hip socket, turn your right leg out and bend the leg to 90 degrees so your right toes point to the top of your mat. Turn your back foot in slightly to allow your left hip to draw forward. Bend into your right knee so the knee is tracking over the ankle but not in front of it. Raise your arms out in opposite directions at shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Keep both sides of the torso long and shoulders stacking over hips. Find a gentle lift of the frontal hip bones as the tailbone releases down. Gaze over your front middle finger. Switch sides and repeat.
Standing at the top of your mat, place your right foot on your inner left thigh, calf, or ankle (avoiding the knee). Press your right inner thigh back as you firm your right glute. Place your hands on your hips to ensure hips are level. Option to raise your arms to the sky or have them at heart center in a prayer position. Find one point of focus to gaze at for stability. Repeat on other side.
With your feet together or apart, bend the knees and sink your hips back as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair. Take the weight back towards the heels of your feet, shins pressing back towards your calves. Reach your arms up to the sky, triceps wrapping forward and palms facing each other. Draw the navel in as you release the tailbone down. Hold and continue to breathe.
Find a wide stance facing the long edge of your mat. With toes pointing outwards, bend the knees so thighs are parallel to the ground. Press the inner thighs and knees back. Stay tall through the spine and take hands to heart or find your favorite mudra. With every inhale, lift up through the crown of the head, and as you exhale, bend deeper into the knees.
From a kneeling positing with legs hip width distance, tuck your toes. Take your hands to your low back and draw the elbows in towards each other to broaden the collarbones. Lift the sternum and inhale as you lengthen the front body. As you exhale, reach back for your heels as you maintain the lift of the chest towards the sky. Continue to engage the quadriceps and firm the low belly. Option to look up or gently backwards.
Baby In Bouncer Poses
From a tabletop position on hands and knees, lower your hips to your heels and place your forehead on the mat. You can reach your arms forward with palms on the mat, or you can take the arms back alongside your body with the palms facing upward. Option to have the knees together or the knees apart with the toes touching.
Downward Facing Dog Pose
From a tabletop position on hands and knees, lift your knees and straighten your legs. Your knees can be slightly bent with heels extending toward the mat (but if they don’t touch that is okay!). Spread your fingers and root down through all four corners of your hands. Press the earth away and firm the triceps. Turn the inner thighs back as you engage the quadriceps. Keep weight in your feet as you lift your sit bones upwards. Keep your head in line with your upper arms.
From a yogi squat position with the knees wide, take the hands shoulder width distance apart in front of you. Rise to the balls of your feet and place your knees on the upper arms towards your armpits. Lift the hips high and begin to engage the lower abdominals. Start to send the weight forward into the hands and arms. Keep shifting your center of gravity forwards until all the weight is in the arms and hands and your elbows are stacking over wrists. As the toes get lighter, bring your heels towards your glutes. Keep your gaze focusing between the hands and slightly forward.