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How to include your little one into your yoga practice—8 mommy + me poses

Ok mamas, I hear you! Amidst work and laundry and cleaning and food prep, is there time for yoga?

Originally when I had my son 11 months ago I thought “heck no!”—I barely had time for sleep never mind finding time to practice. But once my OB cleared me to exercise and my son was a little more sturdy—I realized that I didn’t have to set up separate alone time to do yoga every day. (As we all know, moments alone are few and far between!)

Instead, I could involve my son in my practice with me. Rather than sitting on his play mat with him, I realized we could be practicing boat pose together. Reading a book could mean butterfly pose. Rocking him to sleep could mean finding a goddess stance. Yoga has been such a positive part of my life, and I hope it can be a positive aspect of Levi’s life as well!

So fret not, mamas. Your little one’s natural flexibility is perfect for yoga—and it’s a fun activity to do together, it teaches your child about strength and balance, and helps keep you calm throughout the day.

Here are a few poses that are easy to weave into your daily routine, and also poses that get a good giggle out of my #yogababy (or a #yogakid if you have an older little one!):

1. Child’s Pose

Maybe an obvious one due to the name, but child’s pose is the perfect opportunity to find a moment of quiet with your little one! On your hands and knees, send your hips back to your heels and rest your head on the ground or on baby lying in front of you (just be careful of hair pulling!) And breathe. If you have a toddler, this is a great one to show them how to slooooow down.

2. Downward Facing Dog

Bigger kids tend to rock this pose, just tell them to stand on their hands and feet and send their tushy up toward the sky. For babies or crawlers, they love being under the bridge that you make in your down dog!

3. Goddess Pose

Because aren’t we goddesses already? With a wide stance and toes pointing outward, bend into your knees so that they are directly over the ankles. Here, you can either hold baby in your arms for some added weight, or have your little one copy you and show them how strong they can be!

4. Butterfly Pose

This is a good one for story time. After you sit and bring the soles of your feet together, your little one can come sit on your lap and bring their feet together as well. Then you’re in perfect position to open your hips and read a good book!

5. Boat Pose

This is one of my #yogababy’s faves. Bring your little one onto your lap with the soles of your feet on the ground. Then, leaning back to find the balancing point between your tail bone and sit bones, bring your shins parallel to the floor. Be sure to rock and roll and maybe even sing “Row Row Row Your Boat” to have some extra fun in this core workout!

6. Airplane Pose

What kid doesn’t want to fly? Lying down, have your little one stand against your feet out in front of you, then hold their hands hold as you lift your legs and pull them up overhead. This one is sure to bring a smile!

7. Happy Baby

This is one that babies naturally find on their own, so there must be something to it! Lying on your back, send your feet up toward the ceiling and hold onto the insides of your feet, pulling your knees towards your armpits.

8. Savasana

This is also called snuggle time. Lying on your back, with your little one on your chest, slow down your breath and close your eyes. This will help them calm down, and hopefully you can both find a moment of peace in your busy day.

Whether you’re a master yogi, have been to a yoga class or two, or think yoga sounds funny—your postpartum body and mind will thank you for trying this out with your child. Yoga can build strength, calm your mind, and with these poses it can be a positive and productive bonding experience with your little one.

So don’t worry about getting out the yoga mat, the play mat will do just fine! Just keep an eye out for those opportunities where you and your munchkin can enjoy some laughs, some love, and a pose or two together.

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We've had some struggles, you and me. In my teens, we were just getting to know each other. It was a rocky road at times, like when people referred to you as "big boned." I was learning how to properly fuel you by giving you the right foods. How to be active, to keep you strong and in good shape. I wish I knew then what I do now about you and what a true blessing you are. But that's something that has come with the gift of motherhood.

In my 20's, we became more well-acquainted. I knew how to care for you. After I got engaged, we worked so hard together to get into "wedding shape." And, looking back now, I totally took that six pack—okay, four pack—for granted. (But I have the pictures to prove it.)

Now that I'm in my 30's (how did my 30's happen so fast, btw?) with two kids, I'm coming to terms with my new postpartum body.

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If there are two things a mama is guaranteed to love, it's Target plus adorable and functional baby products. Target's exclusive baby brand Cloud Island has been a favorite destination for cute and affordable baby clothing and décor for nearly two years and because of that success, they're now expanding into baby essentials. 🙌

The new collection features 30 affordable products starting at $0.99 and going up to $21.99 with most items priced under $10—that's about 30-40% less expensive than other products in the market. Mamas can now enjoy adding diapers, wipes, feeding products and toiletries to their cart alongside clothing and accessories from a brand they already know and love.

The best part? The Target team has ensured that the affordability factor doesn't cut down on durability by working with hundreds of parents to create and test the collection. The wipes are ultra-thick and made with 99% water and plant-based ingredients, while the toiletries are dermatologist-approved. With a Tri-Wrap fold, the diapers offer 12-hour leak protection and a snug fit so parents don't have to sacrifice safety or functionality.

So when can you start shopping? Starting on January 20, customers can shop the collection across all stores and online. We can't wait to see how this beloved brand expands in the future.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Many people experience the "winter blues," which are often worst in northern climates from November to March, when people have less access to sunlight, the outdoors and their communities. Another 4% develops Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of clinical depression that often requires formal treatment.

If you have the winter blues, you may feel “blah," sad, tired, anxious or be in a worse mood than usual. You may struggle with overeating, loss of libido, work or sleep issues. But fear not—it is possible to find your joy in the winter, mama.

Here are eight ways to feel better:

1. Take a walk

Research has shown that walking on your lunch break just three times per week can reduce tension, relax you and improve your enthusiasm. If you are working from 9 to 5, the only window you have to access natural sunlight may be your lunch hour, so head outside for a 20 minute brisk but energizing walk!

If you are home, bundle up with your kids midday—when the weather is often warmest—and play in the snow, go for a short walk, play soccer, race each other, or do something else to burn energy and keep you all warm. If you dress for the weather, you'll all feel refreshed after some fresh air.

2. Embrace light

Research suggests that a full-spectrum light box or lamp, which mimics sunlight, can significantly improve the symptoms of the winter blues and has a similar effect to an antidepressant. Bright light at a certain time every day activates a part of the brain that can help restore normal circadian rhythms. While light treatment may not be beneficial for everyone (such as people who have bipolar disorder), it may be a beneficial tool for some.

3. Plan a winter trip

It may be helpful to plan a getaway for January or February. Plan to take it very easy, as one research study found that passive vacation activities, including relaxing, "savoring," and sleeping had greater effects on health and well-being than other activities. Engaging in passive activities on vacation also makes it more likely that your health and well-being will remain improved for a longer duration after you go back to work.

Don't overschedule your trip. Relax at a beach, a pool, or a cabin instead of waiting in long roller coaster lines or visiting packed museums. Consider visiting or traveling with family to help with child care, build quiet time into your vacation routine, and build in a day of rest, recovery, and laundry catch-up when you return.

4. Give in to being cozy

Sometimes people mistake the natural slowness of winter as a problem within themselves. By making a concerted effort to savor the slowness, rest and retreat that complement winter, you can see your reduction in activity as a natural and needed phase.

Research suggests that naps help you release stress. Other research suggests that when your brain has time to rest, be idle, and daydream, you are better able to engage in "active, internally focused psychosocial mental processing," which is important for socioemotional health.

Make a "cozy basket" filled with your favorite DVDs, bubble bath or Epsom salts, lemon balm tea (which is great for “blues,") or chamomile tea (which is calming and comforting), citrus oils (which are good for boosting mood), a blanket or a favorite book or two. If you start to feel the blues, treat yourself.

If your child is napping or having quiet time in the early afternoon, rest for a full 30 minutes instead of racing around doing chores. If you're at work, keep a few mood-boosting items (like lavender spray, tea, lotion, or upbeat music) nearby and work them into your day. If you can't use them at work, claim the first 30 minutes after your kids are asleep to nurture yourself and re-energize before you tackle dishes, laundry, or other chores.

5. See your friends

Because of the complex demands of modern life, it can be hard to see or keep up with friends or family. The winter can make it even harder. While you interact with your kids throughout the day, human interaction with other adults (not just through social media!) can act as a protective layer to keep the winter blues at bay.

Plan a monthly dinner with friends, go on a monthly date night if you have a partner, go to a book club, get a drink after work with a coworker, visit a friend on Sunday nights, or plan get-togethers with extended family. Research suggests that social interactions are significantly related to well-being.

Realize that given most families' packed schedules, you may need to consistently take the lead in bringing people together. Your friends will probably thank you, too.

6. Get (at least) 10 minutes of fresh air

A number of research studies have shown positive effects of nature on well-being, including mental restoration, immune health, and memory. It works wonders for your mood to get outside in winter, even if it's just for 10 minutes 2 to 3 times per week. You might walk, snowshoe, shovel, go sledding or go ice-skating. If you can't get outside, you might try these specific yoga poses for the winter blues.

7. Add a ritual

Adding a ritual to your winter, such as movie night, game night, hot chocolate after playing outside, homemade soup on Sundays, or visiting with a different friend every Saturday morning for breakfast, can add beauty and flow to the seemingly long months of winter. Research has suggested that family rituals and traditions, such as Sunday dinner, provide times for togetherness and strengthening relationships.

8. Talk to a professional

Counseling, which helps you identify the connections between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, can be extremely helpful for the winter blues (especially when you are also experiencing anxiety or stress). A counselor can assist you with identifying and honoring feelings, replacing negative messages with positive ones, or shifting behaviors. A counselor may also help you indulge into winter as a time of retreat, slowness, planning, and reflecting. You may choose to use the winter to get clear on what you'd like to manifest in spring.

The opposite of the winter blues is not the absence of the winter blues—it's taking great pleasure in the unique contribution of a time of cold, darkness, retreat, planning, reflecting, being cozy and hibernating. Nurturing yourself and your relationships can help you move toward winter joy.

Weary mama,

You are incredibly strong. You are so very capable.

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