I have a confession to make. I don’t practice yoga. I appreciate how I feel after having done the occasional class but I’ve never felt challenged to fully pursue it. Maybe it’s because I’m always the most inflexible, unknowledgeable and awkward one in the class, or maybe it’s because I get bored after 45 minutes and my mind starts to wander, or maybe it’s because my face doesn’t go purple and I can still walk the next day.
I started going to mom and baby yoga. I figured that it would be the best way to shock my post pregnancy body to exercise, a great way to meet moms and connect with my baby. Every Monday morning I join Annie and about ten other moms at the Yoga Studio in Squamish (there is also a Wednesday afternoon class) for an hour of interaction, communication, physical activity and encouragement with my baby. It’s where chattarunga doesn’t mean phone a friend and shi-vassana isn’t my quiet bathroom time out.
During class we incorporate babies into our practice. Our class begins with ‘checking – in’ time, where new moms meet and introduce their bambinos. Once everyone is settled, we start with a gentle massage – valuable tool for reliving wind and other digestive problems and a great way of interacting with baby – followed by relaxing breathing exercises, slowly progressing to more dynamic practices such as flowing warrior and abdominal exercises. Most of the babies are under seven months of age and there are some lucky gals whose babies easily weigh almost 20 pounds. Imagine throwing an extra 20 pounds into the mix?!? Your face will quickly turn purple! After some yoga for moms (while babies relax on the mat in front of you), the fun postures for two begin. Typical postures include; spin rolls, with babies resting on knees or staff pose, with babies rolling along the outstretched legs. Babies love postures for two, hearing them laugh and giggle makes my lack of flexibility and coordination trivial. The practice is always concluded with plenty of time for relaxation and connection with baby – most new mums appreciate the chance for a little rest.
The yoga is focused on post-natal strengthening exercises, particularly focusing on pelvic floor and lower back strengthening, as well as breastfeeding positions. Several postures can help to ease some of the discomfort common in the post-natal period, such as bridge pose or butterfly pose, both strengthen and tone the reproductive system, so even if you’ve never done yoga before, the post-natal period is an ideal time to start.
Whether it’s motivation you’re looking for, time with baby, or something to do in Squamish while you’re stocking your pantry with supplies, check out Annie’s class at the Yoga Studio (theyogastudiosquamish.com). She will whip you into shape, all while offering peace, love and encouragement.