Forget the yoga mat, the play mat will do just fine!
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.
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.