Archives for posts with tag: healthy mamas

So I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately. I realize how seldom I post yoga poses, of myself or otherwise on my social media platforms.

I guess over the years my teaching, as well as my philosophy off the mat have evolved beyond the poses. I used to be defined by my asana performance and get built up by a teacher saying ‘good job Sara.’ Lets face it, it feels great to be acknowledged.

Around that time yoga became more mainstream.

Around that time I had kids.

Around that time I became disenchanted with the abundance of handstands and arm balances parading around the social-media-yoga-scene.

To me, that is no longer what my practice is about.

Don’t get me wrong, I love asana. In fact, I have even more appreciation for it after having 2 children.  I am also more proud of my body and what its capable of after having 2 children than I EVER was before.

But the days that I don’t practice asana FAR outweigh the days that I do because I’m teaching, cleaning, cooking, feeding, bathing, emailing, texting, hugging, snuggling, wifing etc.

So how can your yoga practice continue to evolve if you don’t have time to get to a studio, let alone roll out your mat for a solid hour to do a home practice?

It will be helpful to understand that yoga poses are actually only a small part of a yoga practice or lifestyle. According to one of the ‘grandfathers’ of yoga, asana is only 1 of 8 limbs. Patanjali’s 8- limbed yoga path consists of yamas (ethical discipline), niyamas (self discipline), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (enlightenment). You can think of these as puzzle pieces that fit together to construct a complete practice. I find it helpful to think of them this way because when you are putting a puzzle together there is often no rhyme or reason, yet your effort is spent on creating a whole piece, hence doing a yoga practice or becoming a  yogini.

Through my process of becoming a mother I needed to evolve a way of maintaining my yogi identity. So I pulled away from show-boaty poses and turned my focus to the things I was doing on a more regular basis. By accepting that I couldn’t get to my mat, I started creating opportunities to practice yoga and mindfulness in the daily tasks of motherhood.

Playing with my children became a practice of being present. Packing their lunches- an act of service. Deep breathing with them when they are upset or hurt has become a great way for me to practice breathing as well. When they creep out of bed first thing in the morning, I wrap my arms around them and close my eyes to meditate on the sound of their little angel breath and their warm sleepy bodies.

Mindfulness, breathing, meditation, presence, compassion, all things that show up in motherhood on a regular basis.  Utilizing these tools to extend your yoga practice beyond your mat will help you to evolve and appreciate the time you DO get to be on your mat.  Plus, one of the hardest things to do as a mother is to make time for yourself, so by weaving these practices into your day you will cultivate mindfulness for yourself AND your family. Its WIN-WIN.

namaste.

 

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My husband and I were on our way to yoga early last Friday AM and I noticed myself prepping him for the adventure ahead. I don’t remember him practicing yoga with me during my first pregnancy, so I felt the need to preface the experience by saying ‘I have to do some weird stuff because of the belly, so don’t do everything I do.’

As we began to make our way through the class I allowed myself to go about finding my own flow and meditative state. I was awoken by a keen sense of awareness that allowed me to watch myself from his possible perspective. I started to realize that there really WASN’T that much of my practice that I needed to modify. More than any necessity to change the postures, I was noticing that the uncomfortable part of my practice was the awkward transitions and the lack of strength. But for the most part I could do everything normally.  Now, I’m going to give myself a quick pat on the back for this. I know not all preggers can make it half way through their pregnancy without many major altercations, but since I can, I’m feeling pretty good.

This got me thinking: a pregnant yoga practice isn’t only different for the obvious reasons, but perhaps the biggest shift is that it FEELS so different. So let it feel different. If you aren’t comfortable doing things the same way as before- then make up a new way that works for your beautiful belly. Remember, its such a short, sacred time- embrace it!

Ok, the photos to follow are small variations to poses- some that we are generally told not to do by our doctors, and some that we are forced to modify as our body suggests doing so. This is definitely one of the BIG special things about a prenatal yoga practice: your body is your boss.  Even though you may have Dr’s telling you one thing and your mother telling you something else- YOU are in charge. If you feel good, if the baby feels good, I say go for it!

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Downward Facing Dog: not much to change here, but as your belly gets larger feel free to step your feet farther than hip distance apart.

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Forward Fold: Same song as Downward Dog

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Plank: This pose is great for strength, tone, and stamina. It is also a great modification if/ when Chaturunga becomes too challenging.

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Chaturunga Dandasana/ Low Pushup: Again, not much to change- but consider using your knees. In my prenatal yoga classes we use Chaturunga as an opportunity to get in a few Tricep Pushups before we go back to Downward Facing Dog… as an option.

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This is a modification for Revolved Crescent Lunge. Dr.’s recommend to modify deep twists during pregnancy to help avoid Diastisis Recti.

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Prayer Twist: Use this Vertical Twist variation if it feels better for you.

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Hand to Big Toe Pose: If you are a Hot Yogi, then this pose is a great variation for Standing Forehead to Knee Pose. IT also feels great to open your hips nice and wide!

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Frog Pose: Great for any pregnant body- as this is really close to the most commonly used birthing position now-a-days. This pose is also great to insert into your practice during spine strengthening or belly-down yoga poses.

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These backbend variations are gentle, but great for opening the heart and shoulders. I like to do these when the rest of the class is in plow pose or working on their core… after I do plank, of course!

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Inversions are a big topic of discussion for pregnant practitioners. I’m here to tell you not to be afraid. And, you will know as soon as you try if it feels right for you or not. I did inversions all the way through my first pregnancy. I think it was more scary for the other people in the room than it was for me. AND, my baby was born perfectly healthy. You can always modify like I have here, by keeping one leg closer to the ground for balance and control.

 These poses are based on a combination of advice from my drs, my personal experience, and feedback from my prenatal yoga students. For the mamas out there who are getting to their mats even with a belly- good for you! That baby is going to know flow, rhythm and breath before they are even born.  And please, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have, I would love to chat with you.

MAMA-ste!